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Colonial independence and economic backwardness in Latin America

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  • Leandro Prados de la Escosura

Abstract

This paper explores the connections between independence from Spain and Portugal and economic backwardness in Latin America. The release of the fiscal burden was offset by higher costs of self-government, while opening up to the international economy represented a handmaiden of growth. Independence had a very different impact across regions and widened regional disparities. The commitment to the colonial mercantilism conditioned the new republics’ performance but, on the whole, GDP per head increased in the half a century after emancipation. It appears that inherited Iberian institutions cannot be blamed for Latin America’s poor performance relative to the US, especially if the scope is widened to include the post-independence performance of former European colonies in Africa and Asia. It is suggested that before jumping to the usual negative assessment of nineteenth century Latin America, a comparison of post-independence performance in other world regions will be required.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History in its series Economic History Working Papers with number 22482.

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Length: 66 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22482

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Postal: LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/
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  16. José Díaz & Rolf Lüders & Gert Wagner, . "Economía Chilena 1810-1995: Evolución Cuantitativa del Producto Total y Sectorial," Documentos de Trabajo 186, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
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Cited by:
  1. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2005. "Growth, Inequality, And Poverty In Latin America: Historical Evidence, Controlled Conjectures," Working Papers in Economic History wh054104, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
  2. Luis Bertola & Cecilia Castelnovo & Javier Rodriguez & Henry Willebald, 2008. "Income distribution in the Latin American Southern Cone during the first globalization boom, ca: 1870-1920," Working Papers in Economic History wp08-05, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
  3. Salomón Kalmanovitz, 2006. "El PIB de la Nueva Granada en 1800: auge colonial, estancamiento republicano," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 8(15), pages 161-183, July-Dece.

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