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The Economies of Argentina and Brazil

The Economies of Argentina and Brazil

A Comparative Perspective

Edited by Werner Baer and David Fleischer

This book compares the successes and failures of the development and growth processes of Argentina and Brazil. It provides important insights into the different performances of these economies through a series of comparative essays written by Argentinian and Brazilian economists.

Chapter 3: Comments on Part I

Joseph L. Love

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics


Joseph L. Love The two studies of industrialization by Bernardo Kosacoff and André Villela show that although the two nations were simultaneously facing similar signals and impulses emanating from the developed countries, there were choices to be made. We accept Villela’s definition of industrialization as a quickening expansion of output and productivity, accompanied by a structural diversification. The periods covered by the two studies are similar – beginning in 1880 for Argentina and in 1890 for Brazil, and ending in both cases in 2007.1 The studies cover the rise and decline of industrialization as a driving force of economic growth, but they show different paths in dealing with international opportunities and crises, reflecting different mixes of export structures and endowments on the one hand, and social and political systems on the other. In the 50 years ending in 1930, Argentina offered Latin America’s classic case of successful export-driven growth based on the ideology of economic liberalism. Brazil in the same era pursued a policy of what might be called ‘statist liberalism’. Although the Brazilian state had only barely begun to engage in social welfare, it famously intervened in the international market through its pursuit of coffee valorization. Brazil was also notably more protectionist than Argentina, displaying tariff levels among the highest in Latin America, though economic historians now think that protection, especially after 1930, was chiefly provided by the country’s overvalued currency. Between 1870 and 1930, in any case, Brazil’s high tariffs and economic growth were positively correlated.2 Despite these significant...

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