Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Globalisation, the Terms of Trade and Argentina’s Expansion in the Long Nineteenth Century

Francis, Joseph A. (2016): Globalisation, the Terms of Trade and Argentina’s Expansion in the Long Nineteenth Century. Forthcoming in: Journal of Latin American Studies

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Abstract

Following Tulio Halperín Donghi’s pioneering work, historians have tried to explain why Argentina experienced a dramatic export-led expansion in the first half of the nineteenth century despite a lack of price incentives. This paradox is resolved by a new estimate of Argentina’s terms of trade. It suggests that they probably improved by at least 2,000 per cent from the 1780s to the first decade of the twentieth century, so there were considerable price incentives for export-led growth. Labour and capital moved into the export sector, bringing the country’s Pampean land – a previously under-utilised resource – into production. This suggests that Argentina’s expansion in the long nineteenth century was less a result of internal factors than a response to globalisation.

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