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Connecting the productivity challenge with development policies in Latin America and the Caribbean


Connecting the productivity challenge with development policies in Latin America and the Caribbean

How can Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) overcome the challenge of low productivity levels and productivity growth in order to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs?

Productivity is a crucial element for the development of people and societies worldwide. Studies show that monetary income is one of the main determinants of wellbeing, with labour productivity being its primary determinant. In LAC, poor productivity has led to the last decade (2014-2023) to be worse in terms of economic growth than the infamous ‘lost decade’ of the 1980s.

Against this backdrop, UNU-WIDER and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) partner for a discussion on the potential of productive development policies (PDP’s) to address this challenge. 

ECLAC has been promoting the escalation and better implementation of PDPs as part of the policy toolkit to increase the region’s productivity. However, many challenges and questions remain with regards to ‘what to do’ and ‘how to do it’. UNU-WIDER’s research and policy analysis provide valuable insights to support the work of ECLAC and can assist in answering such questions. 

The event begins with a presentation by UNU-WIDER Director Kunal Sen on research and policy analysis on productivity and varieties of structural change, with a focus on the LAC region, drawing from a recent publication and the UNU-WIDER’s report, Towards peace, decent work, and greater equality. ECLAC's Executive Secretary José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs also presents on the topic of LAC's productivity challenges and on the need to scale-up productive development policies in the region to address this challenge.

In the panel discussion, experts from international organizations, academia, and policy networks exchange diagnostics on the region's main productivity problems and discuss ideas on how to progress towards productive development in the region across two panel discussions.

09:00-09:10Welcome address
Kunal Sen | Director UNU-WIDER
José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs | Executive Secretary, ECLAC
09:10-09:30Productivity and Varieties of Structural Change in LACs 

Kunal Sen | Director, UNU-WIDER
09:30-09:50The Need to Escalate Productive Development Policies in LAC 

José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs | Executive Secretary, ECLAC
09:50-11:10Panel 1: The Productivity Challenge of LAC 

Chair: Kunal Sen | Director, UNU-WIDER 

William Maloney | Chief Economist, Latin America and Caribbean, The World Bank
Daniel Samaan | Senior Economist, Research Department, International Labour Organization
Javiera Petersen | Under-secretary of Economy of Chile
Andrés Solimano | President, CIGLOB
11:10-11:30Coffee break
11:30-12:50Panel 2: Productive Development Policies to address LAC’s productivity challenge

Chair: Marco Llinás, Director, Division of Production, Productivity and Management, ECLAC

Juan Carlos Hallak | Professor, University of Buenos Aires
Tommaso Ciarli | Researcher, UNU-MERIT
Chiara Criscuolo | Head of the Productivity and Business Dynamics, OECD
Felipe Correa | Researcher, Division of Production, Productivity and Management, UN-ECLAC
12:50-13:10Questions and discussion with audience
13:10-13:15Final remarks