Globalization in Latin America Before 1940
How much of the good growth performance in Latin America between 1870 and 1913 can be assigned to the forces of globalization? Why was industrialization so weak? Why was inequality on the rise? This paper offers an answer to these questions. It starts by exploring the disadvantages associated with geographic isolation from world markets and the transport revolutions that helped liberate Latin America from that isolation, a pro-global force. It then asks how independence contributed to massive de-globalization during the decades of lost growth' between the 1820s and the 1870s. Next, it documents what happened to the external terms of trade in Latin America between 1820 and 1950: from the 1890s onwards the terms of trade deteriorated, but it also underwent spectacular improvement before the 1890s, suggesting that it had something to do with the fairly fast' Latin America growth during so much of the belle ‚poque. While booming relative prices of exports certainly fostered trade, policy suppressed it: tariff rates were higher in Latin America than almost anywhere else in the world between 1820 and 1929, long before the Great Depression. The paper then asks why. The answer is to be found mainly with revenue needs rather than with some precocious import substitution policy. High tariffs still had a powerful protective effect, regardless of motivation. However, protective policy was modified by those powerful and positive terms of trade shocks, yielding on net weak early industrialization. Finally, the paper documents that inequality rose in most of Latin America up to World War I, while it fell thereafter. The correlation between globalization and inequality is likely to have been causal.
|Date of creation:||May 2003|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Bulmer-Thomas, Victor, John H. Coatsworth, and Roberto Cortes Conde. The Cambridge Economic History of Latin America. Volume 2. The Long Twentieth Century. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Prebisch, Raúl, 1950. "The economic development of Latin America and its principal problems," Sede de la CEPAL en Santiago (Estudios e Investigaciones) 29973, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
- Harley, C.K., 1988.
"Ocean Freight Rates And Productivity, 1740-1913: The Primacy Of Mechanical Invention Reaffirmed,"
UWO Department of Economics Working Papers
8802, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
- Harley, C. Knick, 1988. "Ocean Freight Rates and Productivity, 1740–1913: The Primacy of Mechanical Invention Reaffirmed," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(04), pages 851-876, December.
- North, Douglass, 1958. "Ocean Freight Rates and Economic Development 1730-1913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(04), pages 537-555, December.
- Yael S. Hadass & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001.
"Terms of Trade Shocks and Economic Performance 1870-1940: Prebisch and Singer Revisited,"
NBER Working Papers
8188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hadass, Yael S & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 2003. "Terms-of-Trade Shocks and Economic Performance, 1870-1940: Prebisch and Singer Revisited," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(3), pages 629-56, April.
- Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1998. "The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195116519, December.
- Bairoch, Paul, 1972. "Free trade and European economic development in the 19th century," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 211-245, November.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9687. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.