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Prebisch-Singer Redux

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  • John T. Cuddington
  • Rodney Ludema
  • Shamila A Jayasuriya

Abstract

In light of ongoing concern about commodity specialization in Latin America, this paper revisits the argument of Prebisch (1950) that, over the long term, declining terms of trade would frustrate the development goals of the region. This paper has two main objectives. The first is to clarify the issues raised by Prebisch and Singer (1950), as they relate the commodity specialization of developing countries (and Latin America in particular). The second is to reconsider empirically the issue of trends in commodity prices, using recent data and techniques. We show that rather than a downward trend, real primary prices over the last century have experienced one or more abrupt shifts, or “structural breaks,” downwards. The preponderance evidence points to a single break in 1921, with no trend, positive or negative, before or since.

Suggested Citation

  • John T. Cuddington & Rodney Ludema & Shamila A Jayasuriya, 2002. "Prebisch-Singer Redux," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 140, Central Bank of Chile.
  • Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:140
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    • Cuddington, John T. & Ludema, Rodney & Jayasuriya, Shamila A, 2002. "Prebisch-Singer Redux," Working Papers 15857, United States International Trade Commission, Office of Economics.

    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Frankel, Jeffrey A., 2011. "A Solution to Overoptimistic Forecasts and Fiscal Procyclicality: The Structural Budget Institutions Pioneered by Chile," Scholarly Articles 4723209, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Jeffrey Frankel, 2013. "A Solution to Fiscal Procyclicality: The Structural Budget Institutions Pioneered by Chile," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Luis Felipe Céspedes & Jordi Galí (ed.), Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Performance, edition 1, volume 17, chapter 9, pages 323-391 Central Bank of Chile.
    3. David S. Jacks & Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2011. "Commodity Price Volatility and World Market Integration since 1700," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 800-813, August.
    4. Konstantin M. Wacker, 2011. "The Impact of Foreign Direct Investment on Developing Countries’ Terms of Trade," WIDER Working Paper Series 006, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Ocampo, José Antonio & Parra, María Angela, 2003. "The terms of trade for commodities in the twentieth century," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), April.
    6. Brahmbhatt, Milan & Canuto, Otaviano, 2010. "Natural Resources and Development Strategy after the Crisis," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 1, pages 1-7, February.
    7. Bernhard G. Gunter & Valeria Vargas Sejas, 2017. "Free Falling Terms of Trade Despite Industrialization: The Case of Bangladesh," Bangladesh Development Research Working Paper Series (BDRWPS) BDRWPS No. 33, Bangladesh Development Research Center (BDRC).
    8. William F. Maloney & Daniel Lederman, 2008. "In search of the Missing Resource Curse," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2008), pages 1-57, August.
    9. Jerrett, Daniel & Cuddington, John T., 2008. "Broadening the statistical search for metal price super cycles to steel and related metals," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 188-195, December.

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