The Decline of Latin American EconomiesGrowth, Institutions, and Crises

The Decline of Latin American EconomiesGrowth, Institutions, and Crises

Sebastian Edwards, Gerardo Esquivel, and Graciela Marquez

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226185002

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


Latin America's economic performance is mediocre at best, despite abundant natural resources and flourishing neighbors to the north. The perplexing question of how some of the wealthiest nations in the world in the nineteenth century are now the most crisis prone has long puzzled economists and historians. This book examines the reality behind the struggling economies of Argentina, Chile, and Mexico. A panel of experts argues here that slow growth, rampant protectionism, and rising inflation plagued Latin America for years, where corrupt institutions and political unrest undermined the financial outlook of already-besieged economies. Tracing Latin America's growth and decline through two centuries, the book illustrates how a once-prosperous continent now lags behind, and offers insight into the relationship between political systems and economic development.

Table of Contents


Sebastian Edwards, Gerardo Esquivel, and Graciela Márquez

I Economic Growth, Taxation, and Institutions

1 When Did Latin America Fall Behind?

Leandro Prados de la Escosura

3 Inequality and the Evolution of Institutions of Taxation

Kenneth L. Sokoloff and Eric M. Zolt

II Financial Crises, Lending, and Inflation

4 Financial Crises, 1880–1913

Michael D. Bordo and Christopher M. Meissner

5 The True Measure of Country Risk

Gerardo della Paolera and Martín Grandes

8 Establishing Credibility

Sebastian Edwards

III Protectionism and Economic Performance

9 Some Economic Effects of Closing the Economy

Gerardo Esquivel and Graciela Márquez

10 The Political Economy of Protectionism

Aurora Gómez-Galvarriato