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Club convergence in Latin America

  • Victor Martin EMAIL logo and Guillermo Vazquez


This paper assesses the convergence in per capita income of a group of 18 Latin American countries over the period 1950–2008. We employ a novel regression based convergence test proposed by (Phillips, P. C. B., and D. Sul. 2007. “Transition Modeling and Econometric Convergence Tests.” Econometrica 75: 1771–1855). Contrary to most previous studies, our approach allows us to examine for evidence of club convergence and enables to endogenously identify groups of countries that convergence to different equilibria. Our results support the existence of convergence clubs, indicating that Latin American countries form three separate groups within which income per capita dispersion is decreasing over time. Moreover, results from an ordered logit model suggest that differences in institutions quality among Latin America countries have played a crucial role in determining club membership.

Corresponding author: Victor Martin, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos – Economia Aplicada I, Paseo Artilleros s/n, Madrid 28032, Spain, e-mail:


Victor Martin acknowledges financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, HAR2013-40760_R.


Table AI:

Key variables by country.

Population growthInvestmentHuman capitalInstitutions qualityManufacturingInfrastructure
Club 1
 Costa Rica3.4114.052.8864.1421.780.83
 Dominican R.3.2112.061.7751.4218.770.33
Club 2
 El Salvador3.3712.861.4032.3622.160.47
Club 3

The institutions quality measure ranks between 0 and 100 points. A larger value indicates better institutions quality.

Table AII:

Political risk index by components, 1985–1990 average.


(12 pts)

(12 pts)

(12 pts)

(12 pts)

(12 pts)

(6 pts)

(6 pts)

(6 pts)

(6 pts)

(6 pts)

(6 pts)

(4 pts)
Club 15.485.
 Costa Rica6.364.725.
 Dominican R.4.584.
Club 24.163.894.113.075.562.251.694.751.253.272.440.38
 El Salvador3.823.293.360.465.432.
Club 35.053.483.413.636.

PR-1, government stability; PR-2, socioeconomic conditions; PR-3, investment profile; PR-4, internal conflict; PR-5, external conflict; PR-6, corruption; PR-7, military in politics; PR-8, religion in politics; PR-9, law and order; PR-10, ethnic tensions; PR-11, democratic accountability; PR-12, bureaucracy quality.

Figure AI: Real GDP per capita in Latin America, 1950–2008.
Figure AI:

Real GDP per capita in Latin America, 1950–2008.


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Published Online: 2015-3-3
Published in Print: 2015-7-1

©2015 by De Gruyter

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