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Latin America's Decline: A Long Historical View

Listed author(s):
  • Sebastian Edwards

In this paper I analyze Latin America's very long term economic performance (since the early 18th century), and I compare it with that of the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the countries of Western Europe. I begin with an analysis of long term data and an attempt at determining when the region's decline really began. The next section deals with the relation between the strength of institutions since colonial rule and the region's economic performance. Next I move to an analysis of Latin America's long history with instability, crises and debt defaults. I show that currency collapses have been a staple of the region's economic history. In the Section that follows I analyze the long term evolution of social conditions, including poverty and income inequality. This analysis shows that a high degree of income disparity and poverty have a long history in the region. The paper ends with an analysis of the way in which Latin American intellectuals and scholars have seen the increasing economic and income gap with the United States and Canada.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15171.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15171.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
Publication status: published as Edwards, Sebastian, 2009. "Protectionism and Latin America's historical economic decline," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 573-584, July.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15171
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  1. Rudiger Dornbusch & Juan Carlos de Pablo, 1989. "Debt and Macroeconomic Instability in Argentina," NBER Chapters,in: Developing Country Debt and the World Economy, pages 37-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sebastian Edwards & Gerardo Esquivel & Graciela Márquez, 2007. "The Decline of Latin American Economies: Growth, Institutions, and Crises," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number edwa04-1, November.
  3. Sebastian Edwards & Gerardo Esquivel & Graciela Márquez, 2007. "Introduction to "The Decline of Latin American Economies: Growth, Institutions, and Crises"," NBER Chapters,in: The Decline of Latin American Economies: Growth, Institutions, and Crises, pages 1-14 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gerardo della Paolera & Alan M. Taylor, 2001. "Introduction to "Straining at the Anchor: The Argentine Currency Board and the Search for Macroeconomic Stability, 1880-1935"," NBER Chapters,in: Straining at the Anchor: The Argentine Currency Board and the Search for Macroeconomic Stability, 1880-1935, pages 3-36 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gerardo della Paolera & Alan M. Taylor, 2001. "Straining at the Anchor: The Argentine Currency Board and the Search for Macroeconomic Stability, 1880-1935," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number paol01-1, November.
  6. Pablo Astorga & Ame R. Berges & Valpy Fitzgerald, 2005. "The standard of living in Latin America during the twentieth century -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 58(4), pages 765-796, November.
  7. Noel Maurer & Stephen Haber, 2007. "Related Lending: Manifest Looting or Good Governance? Lessons from the Economic History of Mexico," NBER Chapters,in: The Decline of Latin American Economies: Growth, Institutions, and Crises, pages 213-242 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Edwards, Sebastian & Esquivel, Gerardo & Márquez, Graciela (ed.), 2007. "The Decline of Latin American Economies," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226185002, April.
  9. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
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