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Beyond the City: Rural Economy's Contribution Development

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 11:09 AM
Contributors: David de Ferranti;, Guillermo E. Perry;, William Foster;, Daniel Lederman;, Alberto Valdés

THE DEVELOPMENT OF RURAL ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES AND COMMUNITIES IS PIVOTAL TO national well-being. In Latin American and Caribbean history, rural societies have been at the center of both the origins of prosperity and of social upheaval. Rural communities have access to a wealth of natural resources, including arable land and forests, yet they face the highest poverty rates in their countries. Characterized by low population densities and located far from the major urban centers, rural communities must overcome severe restrictions in access to public services and private markets, even in some countries where public expenditures per inhabitant are higher in rural than in urban communities. While the trade tax structure of the import-substitution industrialization epoch historically discriminated against the stereotypical rural economic activities related to agriculture, farmers nowadays enjoy higher trade protection than the average for manufacturing activities, along with significant government subsidies to specific producer groups in most Latin American and Caribbean economies. But the rural development challenge has again emerged in relation to concerns regarding agriculture's place in international trade negotiations. Specifically, there are questions of both extended market access for the most competitive agricultural subsectors in national economies and of longer transition periods towards liberalization and support for less competitive or "sensitive" subsectors. Also, many countries are reconsidering their-at least at this date-ineffective policies to support the development of laggard regions, which have not benefited significantly either in the protectionist periods or in the recent period of trade opening.

Author(s): David de Ferranti; , Guillermo E. Perry; , William Foster; , Daniel Lederman; , Alberto Valdés

Publication Date: 2005

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