The IMF and the World Bank

The IMF and the World Bank also encouraged privatization of state- owned enterprises—that is, selling such enterprises to private individuals and groups. The IMF and the World Bank argued that reducing government in- volvement in the economy would foster competition and that greater com- petition would in turn help create a more efficient private sector that could drive economic development. Through structural adjustment, therefore, gov- ernments were encouraged to scale back the role of the state in economic de- velopment and to enhance the role played by the market.

Many governments implemented structural adjustment programs between 1983 and 1995. (See Table 7.4.) They liberalized trade substantially beginning in the mid-1980s (see Figure 7.1). In Latin America, average tariffs fell from 41.6 percent prior to the crisis to 13.7 percent by 1990 (Inter-American Devel- opment Bank 1997, 42). They began to privatize state-owned enterprises in the late 1980s. In Latin America, “more than 2,000 publicly owned firms, includ- ing public utilities, banks, and insurance companies, highways, ports, airlines, and retail shops, were privatized” between 1985 and 1992 (Edwards 1995, 170; see also Corbo 2000). They liberalized investment regimes, thus opening

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