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The Standard of Living in Latin America During the Twentieth Century

Author

Listed:
  • Pablo Astorga

    (Latin American Centre, St Antony’s College, Oxford OX2 6JF)

  • Ame E. Bergés

    (Latin American Centre, St Antony’s College, Oxford OX2 6JF)

  • Valpy Fitzgerald

    (Latin American Centre, St Antony’s College, Oxford OX2 6JF)

Abstract

Assessing the economic development of Latin America during the twentieth century requires reliable estimates of living standards as measured by per capita income, life expectancy, and literacy. New comparable series for Latin America suggest that these three indicators made the greatest strides during the period from 1940 to 1980. This progress is probably related to state-led industrialisation, improvements in public health, and urbanisation. Comparison with US levels reveals that while average per capita income has generally remained steady, relative living standards (measured by a composite welfare index) have risen gradually as life expectancy in the two regions has converged.

Suggested Citation

  • Pablo Astorga & Ame E. Bergés & Valpy Fitzgerald, 2004. "The Standard of Living in Latin America During the Twentieth Century," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _054, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:nuf:esohwp:_054
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/2290/54fitzgerald.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rudiger Dornbusch & Sebastian Edwards, 1991. "The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number dorn91-1, July.
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    3. Baumol, William J, 1986. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: What the Long-run Data Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1072-1085, December.
    4. Hofman, André A., 2000. "The economic development of Latin America in the twentieth century," Copublicaciones, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 1650 edited by Eclac.
    5. Dan Usher, 1973. "The Measurement of Economic Growth," Working Papers 145, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    6. Elton, Edwin J & Gruber, Martin J & Blake, Christopher R, 1996. "The Persistence of Risk-Adjusted Mutual Fund Performance," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69(2), pages 133-157, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Natalia Mora-Sitja, 2006. "Exploring Changes in Earnings Inequality during Industrialization: Barcelona, 1856-1905," Economics Series Working Papers 2006-W61, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2007. "International inequality and polarization in living standards, 1870-2000 : evidence from the Western World," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp07-05, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    3. Álvaro Aguirre, 2013. "Rebellions, Technical Change, and the Early Development of Political Institutions in Latin America," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 688, Central Bank of Chile.
    4. Alejandro Gaviria, 2010. "Cambio social en Colombia durante la segunda mitad del siglo XX," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 007714, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    5. Regina Grafe, 2004. "Popish Habits vs. Nutritional Need: Fasting and Fish Consumption in Iberia in the Early Modern Period," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _055, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    6. Valpy FitzGerald, 2008. "Economic development and fluctuations in earnings inequality in the very long run: The evidence from Latin America 1900-2000," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(8), pages 1028-1048.
    7. José Antonio Ocampo, 2004. "Latin America's Growth and Equity Frustrations During Structural Reforms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 67-88, Spring.
    8. Camilla Brautaset & Regina Grafe, 2006. "The Quiet Transport Revolution: Returns to scale, scope and network density in Norway's nineteenth-century sailing fleet," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _062, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    9. J.Humphries & T. Leunig, 2007. "Cities, Market Integration and Going to Sea: Stunting and the standard of living in early nineteenth-century England and Wales," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _066, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    10. Pablo Astorga & Ame R. Bergés & Valpy Fitzgerald, 2003. "Productivity Growth in Latin America during the Twentieth Century," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _052, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    11. Asadullah, Mohammad Niaz, 2010. "Educational Disparity in East and West Pakistan, 1947-71: Was East Pakistan Discriminated Against?," Bangladesh Development Studies, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), vol. 33(3), pages 1-46, September.
    12. Tamura, Robert & Dwyer, Gerald P & Devereux, John & Baier, Scott, 2012. "Data appendix for economic growth in the long run," MPRA Paper 41325, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Nohra Rey de Marulanda & Julio Guzmán, 2003. "Inequidad, desarrollo humano y política social: Importancia de las "Condiciones Iniciales"," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 10598, Inter-American Development Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic History; Welfare and Poverty; Demography; Education; Income and Wealth;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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