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Endogenous Growth and Exogenous Shocks in Latin America During the Twentieth Century


  • Ame Bergés
  • Valpy Fitzgerald


Using a new database for the whole 1900-2000 period, this paper estimates the relative contribution of endogenous and exogenous factors in GDP and productivity growth in each of the six larger Latin American economies with multivariate annual models, and complements these with a single aggregate model using panel data by decade to test for convergence within the region and with the US. Our method is innovative as it includes external economic shocks as well as endogenous growth variables. The main findings are: (i) that investment contributed most to growth during the middle of the century when the region was relatively closed to the world economy and state was proactive; (ii) that the six main economies did converge considerably over the century due to improvements in resource allocation, advances in health and education and increased investment effort; (iii) that these improvements were not, however, enough to produce convergence between Latin America and US; and (iv) that terms of trade volatility, trade and interest rate shocks were a major obstacle to both sustained economic growth and catching up.

Suggested Citation

  • Ame Bergés & Valpy Fitzgerald, 2005. "Endogenous Growth and Exogenous Shocks in Latin America During the Twentieth Century," Economics Series Working Papers 2005-W57, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:2005-w57

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
    2. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2004. "When did Latin America fall behind? : evidence from long-run international inequality," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wh046604, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    3. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    4. Valpy Fitzgerald & Pablo Astorga, 2003. "Productivity Growth in Latin America during the Twentieth Century," Economics Series Working Papers 2003-W52, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    5. Eliana A. Cardoso & Albert Fishlow, 1989. "Latin American Economic Development: 1950-1980," NBER Working Papers 3161, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Antonio E. Noriega & Araceli Ramírez-Zamora, 1999. "Unit roots and multiple structural breaks in real output," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 14(2), pages 163-188.
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    More about this item


    Economic History; Economic Growth; Latin America;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • N16 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Latin America; Caribbean


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