A new estimate of Argentina’s industrial output suggests a less optimistic view of the country’s ‘golden age’.
In a previous post I discussed a working paper in which I criticised Roberto Cortés Conde’s estimates of Argentina’s industrial output from 1875 to 1913. In a new version of that working paper I have taken the plunge by producing my own index for this period in a new version of that working paper. It suggests a considerably lower rate of industrial growth than is found in the standard optimistic account of the country’s ‘golden age’.
In a forthcoming article in the Journal of Latin American Studies I discuss the origins of Argentina’s expansion in the long nineteenth century. It is largely an optimistic account of how globalisation led to progress in this remote part of the world. However, it does have a sting in its tail.
Argentina’s economic history provides yet another example of the problem of Mickey Mouse numbers.
When a prominent economic historian provides a new estimate of something, it is likely that the estimate will be taken at face value. Other economic historians will cite it, so it becomes reified, until it is treated as fact, even when it is little more than fancy. John Coatsworth’s estimate of Argentina’s GDP in 1800 provides an example of this.
An estimate of Argentine industrial output from the 1870s to 1913 illustrates a problem with the New Economic History.
The ‘New Economic History’ has sought to transform the study of history by applying econometric techniques to the past. As such, it has greatly increased the demand for historical statistics. The problem has been the supply, as there simply are not enough good quality data to apply econometric techniques to historical issues.
New data on the profitability of Argentina’s largest corporations help explain the origins of its last military dictatorship.
During Argentina’s military dictatorship of 1976-1983, up to 30,000 people were killed by the armed forces. Figure 1 provides an indication of why.
Argentina’s terms of trade probably improved by more than 2,000 percent during the long nineteenth century.
In a new working paper I report the most important finding of my PhD dissertation. In ‘Resolving the Halperín Paradox: The Terms of Trade and Argentina’s Expansion in the Long Nineteenth Century’ I show that Argentina’s terms of trade improved dramatically during the long nineteenth century.
The family history of José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz helps explain the logic of Argentina’s last military dictatorship.
José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz was the product of one of Argentina’s most famous landowning families. As Minister of Economy during the dictatorship of 1976-83, he then became infamous as the architect of an economic programme that left the country racked by stagnation and hyperinflation. To understand why this occurred, it is helpful to look at the origins of the man himself.