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Structural change in Argentina, 1935–60: The role of import substitution and factor endowments

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  • Debowicz, Dario
  • Segal, Paul

Abstract

This paper investigates structural change in Argentina between 1935 and 1960, a period of rapid industrialization and of relative decline of the agricultural sector. This has been the subject of a long-running debate that has exercised Argentine economists throughout the twentieth century, and remains politically salient today. It has been argued that this this relative decline of agriculture was due to the policies of import-substituting industrialization (ISI). This was also the period, however, that directly followed the closing of the land frontier, resulting in a declining land-labor ratio as the population continued to grow. We use a stylized, dynamic three-sector computable general equilibrium (CGE) model of the period to analyze the respective effects of ISI policies and the observed changes in factor endowments on the structure of the economy. We find that the declining land-labor ratio was more important than ISI in explaining relative stagnation in agriculture. ISI gave a substantial boost to manufacturing but primarily at the expense of nontraded services, rather than of agriculture.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series IFPRI discussion papers with number 1212.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1212

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Keywords: structural transformation; Computable general equilibrium (CGE); Industrialization; agricultural sector; Import substitution; Economic history;

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  1. Kanlaya J. Barr & Bruce A. Babcock & Miguel Carriquiry & Andre Nasser & Leila Harfuch, 2010. "Agricultural Land Elasticities in the United States and Brazil," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 10-wp505, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  2. Meckl, Jürgen, 1999. "Structural change and generalized balanced growth," Discussion Papers, Series 1 298, University of Konstanz, Department of Economics.
  3. Corden, W Max & Neary, J Peter, 1982. "Booming Sector and De-Industrialisation in a Small Open Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 825-48, December.
  4. Kelley, Allen C & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1973. "Modeling Economic Development and General Equilibrium Histories," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 450-58, May.
  5. Breisinger, Clemens & Diao, Xinshen & Thurlow, James, 2009. "Modeling growth options and structural change to reach middle income country status: The case of Ghana," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 514-525, March.
  6. Taylor, Alan M., 1992. "External Dependence, Demographic Burdens, and Argentine Economic Decline After the Belle Époque," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(04), pages 907-936, December.
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