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The Project of the Baron de Hirsch. Success or Failure? / El proyecto del Barón de Hirsch. ¿Exito o fracaso?


  • Edgardo Zablotsky


ENGLISH VERSION: In 1891, Baron Maurice de Hirsch founded the Jewish Colonization Association (J.C.A.), through which he would manage a gigantic social welfare project concerning the immigration of thousands of people from the Russian Empire towards Argentina, and their settlement in agricultural colonies. In this paper, we evaluate the result of this project, which is generally qualified as a failure by historians on the subject. We hold an alternative hypothesis, wholly opposed to this conclusion: if the social evaluation of the project were carried out, taking into account the externality it generated, the conclusion would be that the project was highly successful; even though its private evaluation ,which implicitly is the usually made evaluation, would lead to the conclusion that it was a total failure. This externality is reflected in the number of immigrants arriving in the country independently of the J.C.A., but who would have never come here were it not be for Baron de Hirsch's project, since it placed Argentina on the map of East European Jewry, in a world in which the dissemination of information was slow and deficient. SPANISH VERSION: En 1891 el Barón Maurice de Hirsch fundó la Jewish Colonization Association (J.C.A.), a través de la cual habría de conducir un gigantesco proyecto de bienestar social consistente en la inmigración de miles de personas desde el Imperio Ruso hacia nuestro país y su establecimiento en colonias agrícolas. En este paper evaluamos el resultado de dicho proyecto, el cual es generalmente calificado como un fracaso por los historiadores del tema. Sostenemos una hipótesis alternativa, en total oposición con dicha conclusión: si se realizara la evaluación social del proyecto, tomando en cuenta la externalidad generada por el mismo, podría concluirse que el proyecto fue altamente exitoso; aún cuando su evaluación privada, la cual es implícitamente la generalmente llevada a cabo, concluye en un claro fracaso. Dicha externalidad se ve reflejada en el número de inmigrantes que llegaron al país en forma independiente a la J.C.A., pero que nunca lo hubiesen hecho de no existir el proyecto del Barón de Hirsch; ya que el mismo puso en el mapa de la judería de Europa oriental a la Argentina, en un mundo en el cual la difusión de la información era lenta y deficiente.

Suggested Citation

  • Edgardo Zablotsky, 2005. "The Project of the Baron de Hirsch. Success or Failure? / El proyecto del Barón de Hirsch. ¿Exito o fracaso?," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 289, Universidad del CEMA.
  • Handle: RePEc:cem:doctra:289

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    More about this item


    Externalities; Baron Maurice de Hirsch; Jewish Colonization Association; Externalidades; Barón Maurice de Hirsch;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • N96 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Latin America; Caribbean


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