When Almudena Fernández saw the final result of the numbers she had been calculating, her jaw dropped. The chief economist for Latin America and the Caribbean at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) had been attempting to measure the economic volatility of different world regions in order to see how hers measured up.

“It didn’t surprise us that we were the world’s most volatile,” said the specialist. “But honestly, I was surprised by what magnitude.” The standard deviation of the average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate, a measure of economic volatility, was 7.2 for Latin America between 2020 and 2022. In comparison, the worldwide figure is 4 and that of advanced economies is 5.

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