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El consumo de automóviles en la América Latina y el Caribe (1902-1930)

Author

Listed:
  • Yañez, César

    (Universitat de Barcelona)

  • Badia-Miró, Marc

    (Universitat de Barcelona)

Abstract

The automobile as a durable consumer good spread in Latin America in the first three decades of the 20th century. The consumption of automobiles in the region was determined by foreign trade, with the exception of some countries which in the 1920s managed to set up automobile assembly plants with imported parts. This only occurred in places where both the market was big enough and income levels, high enough —Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay. Additional factors explain-ing the spread of the consumption of automobiles are the expansion of protectionist measures and a greater inequality in income distribution. In this regard, we propose that there was a negative impact on final consumption when consumption was biased towards up-market automobiles, while in those countries where consumption per inhabitant is high there is a proportionally greater consumption of down-market vehicles. Automobile imports show much of automobile consumption and allow us to calculate the vehicles in use, as well as to indicate which countries produced automobiles. The role played in these countries by the United States is virtually absolute as from 1920, after the First World War, although prior to this it had to share much of the market, albeit reduced, with various countries —France, Italy, Germany and Great Britain.// El automóvil como bien de consumo duradero se difunde en la América Latina en el primer tercio del siglo XX. El comercio exterior determina su consumo en la región, a excepción de algunos países que en el decenio de los veinte consiguen instrumentar plantas de ensamblaje de automóviles con piezas importadas, lo que ocurre solamente allí donde coincide una cierta dimensión del mercado con una renta alta (Argentina, Brasil, México y Uruguay). Otros factores explicativos, aunque en un claro segundo plano, son la extensión de medidas proteccionistas y una mayor desigualdad en la distribución de la renta. Al respecto proponemos que hubo un efecto negativo en el consumo final cuando el consumo se sesgó hacia los automóviles de gama más cara; en tanto que en los países donde el consumo por habitante es alto se consumen cantidades proporcionalmente altas de vehículos de la gama de precios bajos. Las importaciones de automóviles muestran buena parte del consumo de automóviles y nos permiten calcular los vehículos en circulación, además de indicar cuales fueron los países en los que se desarrollaron experiencias propias en la producción de autos. El papel que en ellas desempeña los Estados Unidos es casi absoluto a partir de 1920, después de la primera Guerra Mundial, aunque anteriormente tiene que compartir buena parte del, aún reducido mercado, con varios países europeos (Francia, Italia, Alemania y Gran Bretaña).

Suggested Citation

  • Yañez, César & Badia-Miró, Marc, 2011. "El consumo de automóviles en la América Latina y el Caribe (1902-1930)," El Trimestre Económico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, vol. 0(310), pages 317-342, abril-jun.
  • Handle: RePEc:elt:journl:v:78:y:2011:i:310:p:317-342
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.20430/ete.v78i310.36
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    File URL: http://www.eltrimestreeconomico.com.mx/index.php/te/article/view/36/38
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    automóvil; consumo de bienes duraderos; comercio en la América Latina;

    JEL classification:

    • N16 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • N66 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • N72 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N76 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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