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External Vulnerability and Development Prebisch’s Contributions to Economic Thought


  • Martín Fiszbein

    () (Brown University)


This paper shows how the ideas of Raúl Prebisch, from his early analysis of the Argentine business cycle to his in-depth view of the structural conditioning factors of growth in peripheral countries, have been guided by comprehensiveness and historical perspective. These two principles have been combined in the conceptualization of the center-periphery system, which stands out as the cornerstone of his thought. When reconstructing his contributions, characterized by a remarkable continuity, some lesser-known concepts are highlighted, such as his explanation of how the gold standard operated and the anticipation of balance-of-payments-constrained growth models. In addition to being a milestone in the history of economic thought and an important reference for the economic history of Latin America, Prebisch’s work stands out for its current relevance.

Suggested Citation

  • Martín Fiszbein, 2011. "External Vulnerability and Development Prebisch’s Contributions to Economic Thought," Ensayos Económicos, Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department, vol. 1(63), pages 149-194, July - Se.
  • Handle: RePEc:bcr:ensayo:v:1:y:2011:i:63:p:149-194

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    More about this item


    Argentina; balance-of-payments-constrained growth; business cycle; center-periphery system; economic development; Raúl Prebisch;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • N16 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Latin America; Caribbean


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