I am currently working on numerous papers, which I will post here first as working papers, then if and when they are published.
These papers are products of my Argentina project.
1. ‘Globalisation, the Terms of Trade, and Argentina’s Expansion in the Long Nineteenth Century’
Argentina Working Paper 1
Forthcoming in Journal of Latin American Studies.
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 into production the country’s Pampean land – a previously under-utilised resource. This suggests that Argentina’s expansion in the long nineteenth century was less a result of internal factors than a response to globalisation.
2. ‘(Mis)measuring Argentina’s Progress: Industrial Output, 1870s-1913’
Target publication: Economic History Review.
Argentina Working Paper 2
Evidence of dramatic industrialisation has been used to support the optimistic, staple theory-inspired narrative of Argentina’s late nineteenth century. This narrative is challenged here by an analysis of the available evidence of industrial output in Argentina from the 1870s to the eve of the First World War. Issue is taken, in particular, with Roberto Cortés Conde’s widely used industrial output index, which suggests an 8-9 per cent annual industrial growth rate during this period. It is argued that Cortés Conde has overestimated growth by relying upon misleading data taken from Argentina’s inland revenue service. Rather than reflecting increased production, the rapid growth of Cortés Conde’s index is actually due to increased taxation. Alternative indicators show a lower annual growth rate of 5 per cent, although this is necessarily an approximation, given the lack of data. The cases of textiles and beef products illustrate why the lack of data makes it easy to overestimate industrial growth during this period, as there tends to be more data for dynamic activities than for those that stagnated. The paper concludes with a discussion of wider implications for the study of economic history.
I am also writing occasional technical papers, as and when they are necessary.
1. ‘The Periphery’s Terms of Trade in the Nineteenth Century: A Methodological Problem Revisited’
Published in: Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, 48:1, 2015, pp. 52-65.
There is a major downward bias in the trend of most existing estimates of the periphery’s nineteenth-century terms of trade. By using prices from the North Atlantic core as proxies for prices in the peripheral countries themselves, historians ignore the dramatic price convergence that took place during the nineteenth century. Measured correctly, the periphery’s nineteenth-century terms-of-trade boom would appear considerably longer, greater, and more widespread than Jeffrey Williamson supposes, greatly reinforcing his grand narrative about the relation between globalization and the ‘great divergence’. Many of the details of his narrative, however, must be revised. This is illustrated by the case of India.