Until mid-2016, Latin America faced a range of adverse external pressures, including a slow recovering world economy, worsening terms of trade, an appreciating dollar, and declining capital flows. Since June 2016, a wave of political developments has added to Latin America’s woes. Advanced economies are witnessing a surge of political support for movements that promote protectionist and illiberal policies, threatening the post-World War II international liberal order. This occurs at a time when Latin America is undergoing a complex political transition, expressed in social discontent rooted in three years of sluggish growth and recession after a decade-long boom and anger at political elites due to far-reaching corruption scandals.
On May 16, the Brookings Global-CERES Economic and Social Policy in Latin America Initiative hosted a panel discussion on the implications of these new global and regional trends for the political and macroeconomic outlook in Latin America, including whether these new trends could reverse the institutional, economic, and social progress of the last 20 years.