A city of trades: Spanish and Italian immigrants in late-nineteenth-century Buenos Aires, Argentina



Abstract: The city of Buenos Aires in the 1890s is an extreme case in immigration history since the native workers accounted for less than one-third of the labour force. In this paper, we look at the labour market performance of Argentineans vis-à-vis the largest two immigrant groups, Italians and the Spaniards. We find that, on average, Argentineans enjoyed higher wages, but workers specialised in particular occupations by nationality. Immigrants clustered in occupations with lower salaries. Despite higher literacy levels and the language advantage, Spaniards did not outperform Italians in earnings. Ethnic networks facilitated the integration of immigrants into the host society and played a role in the occupation selection of immigrants. Our results suggest that Italian prosperity in Buenos Aires was not based on superior earnings or skills but on older and powerful networks.

Vinculaciones Políticas en un Régimen de Banca Libre: El Caso de la Crisis Bancaria de 1878 en Chile



Abstract: In 1878 Chile experienced a banking crisis which brought an end to the Chilean free-banking period based on convertibility initiated in 1860. Using monthly bank balance sheets and other primary sources, I analyze the period and argue that one important explanation for the crisis was the growing relationship between banks and government through state loans to finance fiscal deficits and privileges to the issuing banks. I claim that the crisis emerged from a large bank loan in late 1877 which induced over-issuance and depreciation expectations leading, logically, to a bank run. The Chilean case provides valuable evidence of an element frequently neglected by the free-banking literature: the links between banks and government.



Cartas Españolas de Jean-Baptiste Say: Evidencias Para el Estudio de la Circulación de Ideas Económicas


Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History, Volume 34, Issue 2

Abstract: Este trabajo transcribe cinco cartas inéditas dirigidas a Jean-Baptiste Say por Manuel María Gutiérrez, Álvaro Flórez Estrada y el Marqués de Valle Santoro, respectivamente. Esta correspondencia acredita la proximidad de los autores españoles a las obras canónicas de la Economía clásica. Destacamos algunas evidencias de interés para el estudio de la transmisión de las ideas económicas. En primer lugar, la traducción de la obra de Say es un proyecto colectivo, estructurado en torno a la Real Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País de Madrid. Describimos también la tarea de expurga de los pasajes condenables para poder publicar en castellano el Traité d`économie politique, concretamente aquellos relativos al papel de la religión en el desarrollo económico y en la educación pública.

Viscardo’s Global Political Economy and the First Cry for Spanish American Independence, 1767–1798


JOURNAL OF LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES, Volume 48, Issue 3, August 2016, pp. 537-564

Abstract: Algunos historiadores revisionistas han argumentado de manera convincente que la independencia de la América española no fue el resultado de una suma de agravios que galvanizaron una identidad nacional o criolla en contra de España. Dichos historiadores proponen que las identidades nacionales hispanoamericanas no existían en ese momento y que la independencia fue un proceso inesperado que debe entenderse en el contexto de la invasión napoleónica de la península ibérica. No obstante, si la independencia no era deseable antes de 1808 y si las identidades nacionales emergieron en un periodo posterior, ¿cómo nos explicamos los precoces proyectos independentistas de ‘precursores’ como Juan Pablo Viscardo y Guzmán? Al reconstruir contextualmente la lógica subyacente de los proyectos de Viscardo, este artículo ofrece una nueva perspectiva sobre las condiciones intelectuales que posibilitaron la independencia de Hispanoamérica. El material señala que a pesar de identificarse como un criollo peruano, Viscardo en realidad utilizó una ciencia global de comercio derivada de la Ilustración, no un patriotismo criollo o un proyecto nacionalista, para legitimar la independencia hispanoamericana.

Classical Liberalism in Guatemala

ECON JOURNAL WATCH 12.3 (2015): 460-478

Abstract: We give an account of classical liberalism in Guatemala, its successes, failures, and main figures. Classical liberalism is a young tradition in the country and relatively small. The three most important organizations are Universidad Francisco Marroquín, the Center for Economic and Social Studies (CEES), and the Center for National Economic Research (CIEN). The most important individual for liberalism in Guatemala has been Manuel Ayau, who passed away in 2010.

Venezuela: Without Liberals, There Is No Liberalism

ECON JOURNAL WATCH 12.3 (2015): 375-399

Abstract: The Venezuelan economy evolved from a growth miracle (1920–1957) to a growth disaster (1960 to the present). This paper describes the institutional collapse behind this reversal of fortunes. To cast light on Venezuela’s U-turn we provide a brief historical account, and we discuss the role played by educational organizations, the media and culture, and political and entrepreneurial elites in the destruction of liberal institutions. We also describe the most prominent liberal reactions to the pervasive institutional decay endured by the country. Finally, a major lesson emerges from this case study: illiberal mindsets coupled with the absence of leadership bring dire consequences for the people’s standard of living.

Tracing the Reversal of Fortune in the Americas: Bolivian GDP Per Capita since the Mid-nineteenth Century


Abstract: In the centuries before the Spanish conquest, the Bolivian space was among the most highly urbanized and complex societies in the Americas. In contrast, in the early twenty-first century, Bolivia is one of the poorest economies on the continent. According to Acemoglu et al. (Q J Econ 117(4):1231–1294, 2002), this disparity between precolonial opulence and current poverty would make Bolivia a perfect example of “reversal of fortune” (RF). This hypothesis, however, has been criticized for oversimplifying long-term development processes by “compressing” history (Austin in J Int Dev 20:996–1027, 2008). Continue reading