The Latin American Experience
Edited by Gabriela Dutrénit and Judith Sutz
Chapter 4: The Argentinean system of innovation: micro determinants and meso–macro disarticulation
The history of Argentina over the last century comprises four models of growth: (1) the agricultural export model between 1880 and 1930; (2) industrialisation by import substitution from 1930 to 1975; (3) the neoliberal model, instrumented by the last military dictatorship and intensified during the 1990s, following a protectionist impasse resulting from a currency shortage and attempts to create an industrial policy which coincided with the return to democracy; and (4) ‘post-convertibility’, which began with the currency devaluation of 2002 and is characterised by a high exchange rate with export tax, which favoured the development of the domestic market and domestic consumption. In each historical period, the role of the state, the production incentives, and Argentina’s relationship with the rest of the world marked the direction of technological change and contributed to shaping the current specialisation profile. This is why, despite the structural changes caused by each growth model, there are persisting patterns of behaviour resulting from the convergence of historical processes and macro incentives, determined not only by individual decisions, but also by the aggregate of collective behaviours. The industrial profile that Argentina developed during much of the twentieth century differentiated it from other Latin American counterparts. However, the limitations of this process were the dependence on external currencies, and internal contradictions, which imposed restrictions on the deepening of the country’s industrial profile and a greater articulation with the development of science and technology in the country.
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