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Productivity Growth in Latin America during the Twentieth Century

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  • Valpy Fitzgerald
  • Pablo Astorga

Abstract

Analysis of new comparable series on output and employment between 1900 and 2000 for Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela indicates that productivity growth was significantly higher and less volatile during the middle decades of the century than in the opening and closing decades. The first estimate of total factor productivity (TFP) growth for Latin America during the twentieth century as a whole, derived from the residuals of a skill-augmented production function, indicates that unembodied technical progress was low and that the accumulation of fixed and human capital accounted for almost all recorded economic progress. Sectoral disaggregation suggests that this factor accumulation was associated with increased levels of capital per worker during industrialization on the one hand; and with both out-migration from agriculture and the lagged consequences of a demographic transition on the other. The relatively low rates of human and physical capital accumulation in Latin America remain to be explained, although these are more likely to be associated with inadequate public provision of infrastructure and education than with the cycle of protection and liberalization as such.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 2003-W52.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2003
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:2003-w52

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Keywords: Aggregate Productivity and Growth; Agriculture; Manufacturing; Total Factor Productivity; Human Capital;

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Cited by:
  1. J.Humphries & T. Leunig, 2007. "Cities, Market Integration and Going to Sea: Stunting and the standard of living in early nineteenth-century England and Wales," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _066, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  2. Valpy FitzGerald, 2008. "Economic development and fluctuations in earnings inequality in the very long run: The evidence from Latin America 1900-2000," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(8), pages 1028-1048.
  3. Mohammad Niaz Asadullah, 2006. "Educational Disparity in East and West Pakistan, 1947–71: Was East Pakistan Discriminated Against?," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _063, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  4. Regina Grafe & Camilla Brautaset, 2006. "The Quiet Transport Revolution: Returns to Scale, Scope and Network Density in Norway`s Nineteenth-Century Sailing Fleet," Economics Series Working Papers 2006-W62, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Jane Humphries, 2006. ""Because they are too menny..." Children, Mothers and Fertility Decline: The Evidence from Working-Class Autobiographies of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _064, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  6. James Malcomson & Martin Chalkley, 2001. "Cost Sharing in Health Service Provision: An Empirical Assessment of Cost Savings," Economics Series Working Papers 69, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. Regina Grafe, 2004. "Popish Habits vs. Nutritional Need: Fasting and Fish Consumption in Iberia in the Early Modern Period," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _055, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  9. Astorga, Pablo, 2010. "A century of economic growth in Latin America," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 232-243, July.
  10. Colistete, Renato P., 2010. "Revisiting Import-Substituting Industrialisation in Post-War Brazil," MPRA Paper 24665, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Paul Segal, 2009. "Structural Change in Argentina, 1900-1973: The Role of Import Substitution and Factor Endowments," Economics Series Working Papers 437, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  12. Pablo Astorga, 2007. "Real Exchange Rates in Latin America: what does the 20th Century reveal?," Working Papers in Economic History wp07-03, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
  13. Richard Steckel, 2005. "Fluctuations in a Dreadful Childhood: Synthetic longitudinal height data, relative prices, and weather in the short-term health of american slaves," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _058, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  14. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2007. "When Did Latin America Fall Behind?," NBER Chapters, in: The Decline of Latin American Economies: Growth, Institutions, and Crises, pages 15-58 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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