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 Argentina has experienced slow economic growthsince the 1940s.

By the mid-1970slong-term growth declined noticeably, and in

the last half ofthe 1980s the country suffered its longest

period ofstagnation in the century. Savings and investment

rates fellprecipitously from the mid-1970s until 1989.

Argentines,responding to the unstable macroeconomic

environment,increasingly saved and invested abroad. Labor

productivity fellang poverty worsened. This economic

performance wastranceable to chronic public sector deficits and

endemicinflation. Public sector deficits in the late 1970s

ranged from 10 to14 percent of GDP, and in the early 1980s

surpassed ISpercent of GDP. After the return to constitutional

democracy in1983, public demands to control inflation were

translated intofour successive stabilization programs. All

failed toeradicate inflation, and each ended in a more virulent

inflation thanthe one preceding it. The main reason for these

failures was theinability of the stabilization programs to

redress rapidlyand permanently the public sector structural

deficit.  Structural deficits emerged from the post-war

organization ofthe economy. Economic policy from the 1940s was

used to propagaterules and transfers favoring the interests of

private groupswith access to power. By the early 1980s public

expendituresapproached 40 percent of GDP. Unionized labor

benefitted fromhigh wages, guaranteed employment, and rigid

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