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Big Push or Big Grab? Railways, Government Activism and Export Growth in Latin America, 1865-1913

  • Bignon, V.
  • Esteves, R.
  • Herranz-Loncán, A.

Railways were one of the main engines of the Latin American trade boom before 1914. Railway construction often required financial support from local governments, which depended on their fiscal capacity. But since the main government revenues were trade-related, this generated a two-way feedback between government revenues and railways with a potential for multiple equilibria. The empirical tests in this paper support the hypothesis of a positive two-way relationship. The main implication of our analysis is that the build-up of state capacity was a necessary condition for railway expansion and, given the importance of the export sector in these economies, for economic growth and divergence in the region.

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Paper provided by Banque de France in its series Working papers with number 447.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bfr:banfra:447
Contact details of provider: Postal: Banque de France 31 Rue Croix des Petits Champs LABOLOG - 49-1404 75049 PARIS
Web page: http://www.banque-france.fr/

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  1. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1988. "Industrialization and the Big Push," NBER Working Papers 2708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Dan Bogart, 2009. "Did the Glorious Revolution Contribute to the Transport Revolution? Evidence from Investment in Roads and Rivers," Working Papers 080918, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  3. Pindyck, Robert S, 1991. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 1110-48, September.
  4. Pesaran, M. Hashem & Smith, Ron, 1995. "Estimating long-run relationships from dynamic heterogeneous panels," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 79-113, July.
  5. Joakim Westerlund, 2007. "Testing for Error Correction in Panel Data," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 69(6), pages 709-748, December.
  6. Olivier Accominotti & Marc Flandreau & Riad Rezzik, 2011. "The spread of empire: Clio and the measurement of colonial borrowing costs," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64(2), pages 385-407, 05.
  7. César Yáñez & Rodrigo Rivero & Marc Badia-Miró & Anna Carreras-Marín, 2012. "La población de los países latinoamericanos desde el siglo XIX hasta el 2008. Ensayo de historia cuantitativa," Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) 1202, Asociación Española de Historia Económica.
  8. Pesaran, M. H. & Shin, Y. & Smith, R. P., 1997. "Pooled Estimation of Long-run Relationships in Dynamic Heterogeneous Panels," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9721, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  9. Avinash Dixit, 1992. "Investment and Hysteresis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 107-132, Winter.
  10. Van Zandt, David E, 1993. "The Lessons of the Lighthouse: "Government" or "Private" Provision of Goods," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 47-72, January.
  11. Esteves, Rui & Jalles, João Tovar, 2013. "Like Father like Sons? The Cost of Sovereign Defaults In Reduced Credit to the Private Sector," CEPR Discussion Papers 9303, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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