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Foreign Capital in Latin America in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

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  • Alan M. Taylor

Abstract

This paper examines the history of foreign investment in Latin America in the two centuries since independence. Investment flows to the region were sometimes large and always volatile. Symptoms of overborrowing, sudden stops, debt, default and crises have been evident from the beginning. In general the economies in the hemisphere struggled for most of the nineteenth century to develop reputations for macroeconomic stability and sound finance, and foreign capital was thus repelled for the long periods. In the twentieth century, most of the region, like the rest of the world, turned inward and against foreign capital markets, a policy trend that emerged in the interwar period and has only recently begun to reverse. These historical perspectives shed light on the region's current relative isolation and its future economic challenges.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan M. Taylor, 2003. "Foreign Capital in Latin America in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries," NBER Working Papers 9580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9580
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2004. "The Modern History of Exchange Rate Arrangements: A Reinterpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 1-48.
    2. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1989. "Developing Country Debt and the World Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number sach89-3, July.
    3. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650592, March.
    4. Maurice Obstfeld & Alan M. Taylor, 1998. "The Great Depression as a Watershed: International Capital Mobility over the Long Run," NBER Chapters,in: The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century, pages 353-402 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Deepak Lal, 1993. "Poverty and Development," UCLA Economics Working Papers 707, UCLA Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sarah Cochrane, 2009. "Assessing the Impact of World War I on the City of London," Economics Series Working Papers 456, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. Peter Rowland & José Luis Torres Trespalacios, 2004. "Determinants Of Spread And Creditworthiness For Emerging Market Sovereign Debt: A Panel Data Study," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 002337, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    3. Kris James Mitchener & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2004. "Empire, Public Goods, and the Roosevelt Corollary," NBER Working Papers 10729, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions

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