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Documento de trabajo

La Misión Klein-Saks, los Chicago Boys y la Política Económica

  • person Rolf Lüders

  • class Documento de Trabajo IE-PUC, N° 411, 2012

Abstract: President Carlos Ibáñez del Campo came into power in 1952 to restore price stability and to end corruption. Soon, however, inflation was running at about 80 per cent per year and government invited Klein-Saks, the prestigious U.S. based consulting firm, to design and implement an anti-inflationary program. The Klein-Saks mission, after some initial studies, concluded that major economic structural reforms were necessary to bring inflation under control and to increase the rate of economic growth. Government accepted the proposed package and reforms were initiated. However, about a year and a half later, broad political opposition to these reforms induced government to cancel the contract with Klein-Saks, in spite of the fact that inflation had been drastically reduced. Soon the reform process was also abandoned and in some areas, even reversed. Decades after the Klein-Saks attempt and starting in late 1973, when inflation run at about 500 per cent and GDP was falling, were the military able to implement –this time under the guidance of the Chicago Boys- a coherent market system in Chile, not too different from that envisioned by Klein-Saks in the mid 1950´s. Good luck, political liberalization, and the economic institutions created under the military are today credited with the relatively high economic growth rates and price stability of Chile. This paper (a) compares the economic reform packages of the Ibáñez (Klein-Saks) and Pinochet (Chicago Boys) administrations, to identify main similarities and differences between those two programs; (b) carries-out a counterfactual exercise to quantify welfare cost of not having implemented the Klein-Saks program in the mid fifties; and (c) attempts to explain the political economy of the reforms in one and the other case.