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The Economic History of Latin America since Independence
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  • 7 b/w illus. 2 maps 71 tables
  • Page extent: 0 pages

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 (ISBN-13: 9780511056147 | ISBN-10: 0511056141)

Beginning with the integration of Latin America into the world trading system centered on Europe and North America during the century before 1930, this 2003 book explores the successes and failures of export-led growth. Using new data on exports and a simple model to explore the relationship between exports and growth, the author pays particular attention to the question that has most concerned policy-makers in Latin America: how to transfer growth in the export sector to the rest of the economy, raising living standards and real income per head. The author examines the routes through which Latin American republics extricated themselves from the debt problem in pursuit of a new version of export-led growth. Taking its narrative from the end of the colonial epoch to the present, this book provides a comprehensive balanced portrait of the factors affecting economic development in Latin America.

• Comprehensive analysis that covers the nineteenth and twentieth century • Includes details of individual countries • Covers the 1990s and forms a judgement on the new economic model that has been in place in the last twenty years


1. Latin American economic development: an overview; 2. The struggle for national identity - from independence to mid-century; 3. The export sector and the world economy: c.1850–1914; 4. Export-led growth - the supply side; 5. Export-led growth and the non-export economy; 6. The First World War and its aftermath; 7. Policy, performance, and structural change in the 1930s; 8. War and the new international economic order; 9. Inward-looking development in the postwar period; 10. New trade strategies and debt-led growth; 11. Debt, adjustment, and the shift to a new paradigm; 12. Conclusions.


'… a comprehensive, accessible, and remarkably balanced account of Latin American history since independence.' Journal of Interdisciplinary History

'Victor Bulmer-Thomas wished to write a survey of the economic history of Latin America in the two centuries since the region achieved independence. In the goal he has succeeded admirably.' The American Historical Review

'In an ambitious, clearly written, and impressively documented economic history, Victor Bulmer-Thomas of the University of London examines the successes and failures of export-led growth in the nineteenth century, the withdrawal into inward-looking, import-substitution economics after the Great Depression, and the debt crisis of the 1980s.' Foreign Affair

'Bulmer-Thomas's chronological exposition is well organized and clearly developed, and he uses tables and graphs to good effect … an excellent resource for clear and accessible overviews of issues, for statistics, and for bibliographic sources.' F. S. Weaver, Choice

'[A] judicious and workmanlike attack on difficult problems of economic structure and policy. His analysis is thorough, rigorously independent and non-ideological.' Norman Gall, The Times Literary Supplement

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