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Big Social Savings in a Small Laggard Economy: Railroad-Led Growth in Brazil

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  • SUMMERHILL, WILLIAM R.

Abstract

Railroad development had a profound impact in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Brazil. Direct benefits were small for passengers, but large for freight services, and contributed heavily to the transition from stagnation to growth. Domestic-use activities received a differentially large stimulus. Estimates of the social rate of return reveal that Brazil did not overinvest in railroads. A different allocation of subsidies to railroad capital could have generated additional gains. Backward linkages did little for industry, but the leakage attributable to imported inputs was modest. Institutional externalities were mixed. By 1913 railroads had paved the way for dramatically improved economic growth.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 65 (2005)
Issue (Month): 01 (March)
Pages: 72-102

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:65:y:2005:i:01:p:72-102_05

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Cited by:
  1. Leunig, Timothy, 2006. "Time is Money: A Re-Assessment of the Passenger Social Savings from Victorian British Railways," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(03), pages 635-673, September.
  2. Summerhill, William, 2010. "Colonial Institutions, Slavery, Inequality, and Development: Evidence from São Paulo, Brazil," MPRA Paper 22162, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Tim Leunig & Joachim Voth, 2011. "Spinning Welfare: the Gains from Process Innovation in Cotton and Car Production," CEP Discussion Papers dp1050, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Tim Leunig, 2011. "Cart or Horse: Transport and Economic Growth," International Transport Forum Discussion Papers 2011/4, OECD Publishing.
  5. Gregg Huff, 2007. "Globalization, Natural Resources and Foreign Investment: A View from the Resource-Rich Tropics," Working Papers 2007_16, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  6. Tim Leunig, 2010. "Social savings," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 30135, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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