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On the Latin American Growth Paradox: A Hindsight into the Golden Age

  • Giorgia Barboni
  • Tania Treibich

In 1950, Latin American countries capabilities were promising, and the subcontinent was thought to have a big potential for convergence. In order to understand why this prediction was not fullled, we apply in this paper the framework set by Fagerberg and Srholec (2008). Our study of the economic evolution of Latin America during the Golden Age (1950-1975) is based on historical data on economic, political and social variables from 18 countries. We use a factor analysis to classify our 20 indicators into ve dimensions: the level of "industrialization", "human capital", the "macroeconomic fundamentals", "politics" and "religion". We nd that only the quality of human capital and the presence of Roman Catholics signicantly and positively aected Latin American economic growth in this period, while the determinants traditionally put forward in the empirical growth literature, such as technical change and openness, did not. Finally, the positive correlation between the religion and education variables reveals that this result is partly related to the role of the Catholic Church as an educational institution.

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Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2010/21.

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Date of creation: 12 Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2010/21
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  1. Fulvio Castellacci, 2004. "A neo-Schumpeterian Approach to Why Growth Rates Differ," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 55(6), pages 1145-1169.
  2. Jose De Gregorio, 1991. "Economic Growth in Latin America," IMF Working Papers 91/71, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Temple, Jonathan & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 1998. "Human capital, equipment investment, and industrialization," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(7), pages 1343-1362, July.
  4. Jan Fagerberg & Martin Srholec, 2007. "National innovation systems, capabilities and economic development," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20071024, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
  5. Fiaschi, Davide & Lavezzi, Andrea Mario, 2003. " Distribution Dynamics and Nonlinear Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 379-401, December.
  6. Fagerberg, Jan & Srholec, Martin & Knell, Mark, 2007. "The Competitiveness of Nations: Why Some Countries Prosper While Others Fall Behind," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1595-1620, October.
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