Argentina’s Terms-of-Trade Boom, 1780-1913

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.

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The Periphery’s Terms of Trade (Again)

My new paper details the problems of measuring the periphery’s terms of trade in the nineteenth century.

In a previous post I outlined some of the problems encountered by Jeffrey Williamson when he attempted to measure the periphery’s terms of trade in the nineteenth century. I have now uploaded a new ‘Technical Paper’ titled ‘The Periphery’s Terms of Trade in the Nineteenth Century: A Methodological Problem Revisited’, which is a considerably revised version of Chapter 2 of my PhD dissertation. In it I have detailed the methodological issue and why it affects Williamson’s analysis.

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The Descent of José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz

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.

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Is the Penn World Table Credible?

Accepting Argentina’s GDP statistics in the new version of the Penn World Table would require a major rewrite of its post-war history.

Last year the eighth edition of the Penn World Table (PWT) was released to considerable fanfare – indeed, one commentator described it as ‘a special day for all researchers and practitioners of economics‘. Yet its series for Argentina raises more questions than it answers.

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Jeffrey Williamson’s Terms of Trade

Jeffrey Williamson’s estimates of the periphery’s terms of trade in the long nineteenth century are misleading.

Jeffrey Williamson‘s (2011) book Trade and Poverty: When the Third World Fell Behind is one of the most interesting attempts to explain the ‘great divergence’ between rich and poor countries. It is a shame, then, that it is marred by his use of Mickey Mouse numbers.

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Did Andre Gunder Frank Know It All Already?

Over 30 years ago Andre Gunder Frank summarised the ideas that are promulgated by today’s ‘neo-institutionalists’ in debates about the ‘great divergence’.

Andre Gunder Frank‘s Lumpenbourgeoisie, Lumpendevelopment was published in 1972, almost half a century ago. Reading it now, it is surprising how contemporary it seems. Most notably, in a few pages Frank appears to provide a review of the ‘neo-institutionalist’ literature that is so prominent today in debates about the ‘great divergence’ between rich and poor countries.

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Argentina: Decline or Urbanisation?

Argentina’s apparent decline during the twentieth century is more likely an illusion created by faulty GDP statistics.

Recently the Economist published a front-page feature on ‘The Tragedy of Argentina: A Century of Decline‘. By summarising the current scholarship on the ‘Argentine paradox’, the article demonstrates why the study of the country’s history remains so necessary.

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