In This Review

Peru: Staying the Course of Economic Success
Peru: Staying the Course of Economic Success
Edited by Alejandro Santos and Alejandro Werner
International Monetary Fund, 2016, 458 pp

Ever since recovering from the miserable, debt-laden 1980s, the Peruvian economy has performed remarkably well. From 1993 to 2014, Peru’s annual GDP growth averaged over five percent, poverty levels declined by more than half, and the middle class swelled. High global prices for commodities and massive Chinese spending and investment helped, but the International Monetary Fund claims some credit as well. In this comprehensive volume, rich with detailed technical analysis, notable Peruvian economists and IMF officials assess the many structural reforms that allowed Peru’s economy to become more efficient, stable, and resilient. Some of those reforms, such as liberalizing trade rules and making it easier to fire workers, fit the neoliberal paradigm. But others, such as strengthening tax authorities and regulatory institutions and promoting public-private partnerships in infrastructure projects, show the more pragmatic side of the IMF. Nonetheless, even smart policymaking can have negative unintended consequences: for example, reallocating mineral revenues to source communities has widened inequalities between the country’s regions. The authors recognize that, despite stellar progress, much more remains to be accomplished, notably in the areas of education, health, and gender equality and in extending governmental authority into the more remote rural zones.