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Spring 2012 - 61975 - PA388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Post-Neoliberal Economic Development Strategies in Latin America

Instructor(s): Conroy, Michael
Unique Number: 61975
Day & Time: M 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.216/219
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

Topics for these policy seminars have included environmental and natural resources policy, health-service delivery policy, social welfare policy, transportation policy, science and technology policy, international affairs, national security, urban and regional growth policy, and political campaigns.


Section Description

Prerequisites: Undergraduate introductory economics and some prior training in Latin American political, social, and economic development

Description:The economic development strategies in a growing proportion of contemporary Latin American and Caribbean nations represent significant deviations from – and, in some countries, complete rejection of – the “neoliberal” strategies of the 1990s and the first decade of this century. Those neoliberal strategies, often embodied in what has been called “The Washington Consensus,” encouraged the rapid privatization of state enterprises, opening of economies to increasing trade and foreign investment, and the shrinking of state-led programs designed to alleviate poverty. The new strategies, called “populist” by some, “neo-socialist” by others, exhibit significant variation across countries; and they have had mixed success.

This course will emphasize a political economy perspective, investigating the political and economic dynamics of the origins, functioning, and impacts of these alternative “post-neoliberal” strategies. It will begin with a comprehensive review of “The Washington Consensus,” its origins, and the literature on its impacts. It will then proceed to compare, in considerable detail, the unique histories and policy details of the countries presently embarking on “post-neoliberal” strategies, including Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Paraguay, Uruguay, Nicaragua, El Salvador under Funes, Chile under Bachelet, and the counter-example found in the “liberalization” of Cuba.

Seminar Objetives:The seminar design has several professional and pedagogical objectives:

  1. To create pro-active “learning circle” among all seminar participants focused on building understanding of the evolving post-neoliberal strategies in a broad cross-section of Latin America and the Caribbean;
  2. To provide a serious, balanced background understanding on the emergence, growth, and decline of the “Washington Consensus”;
  3. To equip seminar participants with the contemporary terminology, conceptual understanding, and appropriate data to permit professional assessment of the present and future economic conditions in the Latin America region; and
  4. To build the skills necessary to do credible political and economic risk analysis in the region.

Evaluation of participants:Seminar participants will be evaluated on four factors, with 40% of the grades given throughout the semester after presentations, and the remainder by the end of the semester: (please download the syllabus for further information and timing)

  • Student-led presentations and/or discussions (20%)
  • Peer evaluations (20%)
  • In-class term project presentation (20%)
  • Term paper (40%)

Participant engagement: Every student will be required to select one country in the region for research and discussion throughout the semester, preferably one of the countries with tangible post-neoliberal strategies in place. As each “critical topic” is raised during the semester, students will be expected to have researched that issue with respect to that issue and to be prepared to comment on it during the respective session. If the distribution of student interest across countries is heavily clustered; the assignment of countries will be by lottery.

Every student will be expected to lead one of the discussions, either on a broadly-ranging topic, or on one of the “critical topics” during the semester. That leadership will involve preparation of an opening presentation on the topic, development of provocative questions linked to the topic, and management of the discussion in the seminar for 30 minutes. 

Please download the syllabus for a detailed discussion concerning:

  • Term paper requirements
  • Books which can be used
  • Schedule of seminar sessions and topics