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La economía argentina y su conflicto distributivo estructural (1930-2015)


  • Gerchunoff, Pablo

    (Universidad Torcuato di Tella)

  • Rapetti, Martín

    (Universidad de Buenos Aires)


We provide an interpretation of the macroeconomic performance of Argentina between 1930 and 2015, in which distributive conflict plays a central role. Following a tradition in the Argentine social sciences, we see a structural inconsistency between the income aspirations rooted in society and the productive capacity of the economy. We give this inconsistency a precise definition: as a gap between two equilibrium levels of the real exchange rate (RER). The macroeconomic equilibrium RER is the one that allows the economy to simultaneously attain full employment and balance of payments sustainability. The social equilibrium RER occurs when fully employed workers obtain the real wage that they bargain/claim. These two levels of RER may not coincide. There is a structural distributive conflict when the macroeconomic equilibrium RER is significantly higher than social equilibrium RER. We build a model to provide a stylized characterization of Argentina’s economy and precise definitions of the two levels of RER. We then use the model to characterize macroeconomic policy and performance during the 1930-2015 period.// En este artículo brindamos una interpretación del desempeño económico argentino entre 1930 y 2015, en la que el conflicto distributivo desempeña un papel protagónico. Nuestro argumento sostiene que el conflicto surge de la inconsistencia entre las aspiraciones económicas arraigadas en la sociedad y las posibilidades productivas de la economía. Presentamos dicha inconsistencia de un modo preciso: como una divergencia entre dos niveles de equilibrio del tipo de cambio real. El tipo de cambio real de equilibrio macroeconómico es aquel que permite a la economía mantener simultáneamente el pleno empleo y un balance de pagos sostenible. El tipo de cambio real de equilibrio social es aquel que emerge cuando los trabajadores plenamente ocupados alcanzan el salario real al que aspiran. Estos niveles de tipo de cambio real pueden no coincidir. De esta manera, existe un conflicto distributivo estructural cuando el tipo de cambio real de equilibrio macroeconómico es significativamente mayor al de equilibrio social. Asimismo, desarrollamos un modelo formal que representa de modo estilizado la estructura de la economía argentina y que permite brindar una definición precisa de los dos niveles de equilibrio del tipo de cambio real y del conflicto estructural. Posteriormente, utilizamos el modelo para caracterizar sintéticamente el performance y la política económica en el periodo 1930-2015

Suggested Citation

  • Gerchunoff, Pablo & Rapetti, Martín, 2016. "La economía argentina y su conflicto distributivo estructural (1930-2015)," El Trimestre Económico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, vol. 0(330), pages .225-272, abril-jun.
  • Handle: RePEc:elt:journl:v:83:y:2016:i:330:p:225-272

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Guillermo A. Calvo & Leonardo Leiderman & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1996. "Inflows of Capital to Developing Countries in the 1990s," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 123-139, Spring.
    2. International Monetary Fund, 2010. "On the Distributive Effects of Terms of Trade Shocks; The Role of Non-tradable Goods," IMF Working Papers 10/241, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Yellen, Janet L, 1984. "Efficiency Wage Models of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 200-205, May.
    4. Oswald, Andrew J, 1985. " The Economic Theory of Trade Unions: An Introductory Survey," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(2), pages 160-193.
    5. Fratzscher, Marcel, 2012. "Capital flows, push versus pull factors and the global financial crisis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 341-356.
    6. Rowthorn, R E, 1977. "Conflict, Inflation and Money," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(3), pages 215-239, September.
    7. Krugman, Paul & Taylor, Lance, 1978. "Contractionary effects of devaluation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 445-456, August.
    8. Glüzmann, Pablo Alfredo & Levy-Yeyati, Eduardo & Sturzenegger, Federico, 2012. "Exchange rate undervaluation and economic growth: Díaz Alejandro (1965) revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 666-672.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guzman, Martin & Ocampo, Jose Antonio & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2018. "Real exchange rate policies for economic development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 51-62.
    2. Emilio Ocampo, 2019. "The Economic Analysis of Populism. A Selective Review of the Literature," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 694, Universidad del CEMA.

    More about this item


    Argentina; tipo de cambio real; salario real; conflicto;

    JEL classification:

    • N16 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean


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