Professor Colin Lewis

Emeritus Professor of Latin American Economic History 

Colin M. Lewis holds a PhD in Economic History from the University of Exeter, where he was supervised by Christopher (DCM) Platt. He is an Honorary Professorial Fellow of the Institute of the Americas, University College, London, an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London, and an overseas member of the Argentinian Academy of History.  He is a member of the editorial boards of Estudios de Sociologia and Historia Económica + Historia de Empresa. His major periods of field research have been spent in São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and Recife, though he has made brief field trips to Antofagasta, Lima and Santiago de Chile.

Colin has held visiting professorships and/or taught at the Federal Universities of Pernambuco and Minas Gerais, the University of São Paulo, and the State University of São Paulo (Araraquara) in Brazil, and at the Economics Faculty of the University of Buenos Aires and Tres de Febrero in the Argentine.  He has attended conferences and given guest lectures elsewhere in Latin America, principally Colombia and Mexico, and visited most South American countries.  In addition, he has taught short courses about Latin American Economic History and/or Latin American Development at the universities of Augsburg, Beijing, JNU (New Delhi), La Rábida, Osaka, Oviedo, Oxford, and University College, London.  Apart from research interests, during visits to the continent, he has developed an enthusiasm for nineteenth-century railway engineering, the work of Frida Kahlo, forró, the music of Magaldi, canoeing in the Amazon, and un buen mate.



Principal recent and on-going research interests include the political economy of development and state-formation, fiscal and monetary history, social policy and welfare, industrial growth and industrialisation, and Latin American business history - particularly the role of British investment and enterprises in the Argentine and Brazil. 

Current projects

  • Development, Nationalism and Dependence: British Business in the Argentine since 1870 
  • A Historical Dictionary of Argentina



Latin America, Economic Imperialism and the State: the political economy of the external connection since Independence (with C. Abel, eds.), (London 2015) 

Lewis -ArgRlys

British Railways in Argentina, 1857-1914: a case study of foreign investment (London 2015).

Monographs and Edited Books

  • British Railways in Argentina, 1857-1914: a case study of foreign investment (London 2015).
  • Latin America, Economic Imperialism and the State: the political economy of the external connection since Independence (with C. Abel, eds.), (London 2015) 
  • Argentina: A Short History (London 2002).
  • Exclusion and Engagement: Social Policy in Latin America (with C. Abel, eds.), (London 2002).
  • The New Institutional Economics and Third World Development, (with J. Harriss and J. Hunter, eds.),  (London 1995, 1997). 
  • Welfare, Poverty and Development in Latin America (with C Abel, eds.),  (London 1993).
  • Argentina in the Crisis Years (1983-1990) (with N. Torrents, eds.),  (London 1993).

Articles, chapters, and contributions

  • ‘Empresas británicas en la Argentina, c.1840-2000: un análisis in Cámara de Comercio Argentino-Británica La influencia británica en el desarrollo de la Argentina (Buenos Aries: CABA/CCAB, 2014) pp.32-45.
  • ‘“Colonial” industry and “modern” manufacturing: opportunities for labour-intensive growth in Latin America, c.1880-1940s’ in Gareth Austin and Kaoru Sugihara (eds.) Labour-intensive Industrialization in Global History (London: Routledge, 2013) pp. 231-62.
  • ‘Prefácio’ in Maria Lúcia Lamounier Ferrovias e Mercado de trabalho no Brasil do século XIX (São Paulo: Ed. USP, 2012) pp.13-18.
  • ‘Modernisation in Europe and Latin America’ in Ryszard Stemploski (ed.) Europe and Latin America: looking at each other?(Warsaw: Polish Institute of International Affairs, 2010)  pp.169-208. 
  • ‘El intercambio comercial angloargentino, 1945-1965’ in David Rock (ed.) Argentina en el siglo veinte: economía y desarrollo politico desde la élite conservadora a Perón-Perón (Buenos Aires: Letra Gamma/Lenguaje Claro Ed., 2009) pp.143-67.
  • ‘The State and Economic Growth in Latin America’ in Ryszard Stemploski (ed.) On the State of Latin American States: approaching the bicentenary (Cracow: Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski, 2009) pp.131-71.
  • (with Peter Lloyd-Sherlock)  ‘Social Policy and Economic Development in South America: an historical approach to social insurance’ Economy and Society XXXVIII 1 (2009)  109-31.
  • ‘Las economías de exportación’ in Eduardo Posada Carbó (ed.) Historia General de América Latina: Tomo VII: Los proyectos nacionales – sus instrumentos y articulación (Paris: UNESCO 2009) pp.79-110.
  • (with Andrew Mitchell) ‘Fiscal Policy and External Constraints: state credibility, taxation, public goods and the budget’ in Iwan Morgan & Diego Sánchez Ancochea (eds.) Political Economy of the Public Budget in the Americas (London: Institute for the Study of the Americas 2008) pp.33-59.
  • ‘Britain, Argentina and Informal Empire’ in Matthew Brown (ed.) Informal Empire and Latin America: culture, conflict and capital (London: Blackwell 2008) pp.99-123.
  • ‘Mercados y estados’ in Marco Palacios Rozo & Gregorio Weinberg (eds.) Historia General de América Latina: Tomo VIII: América Latina desde 1930 (Paris: UNESCO, 2008) pp.253-91.
  • ‘Modernisation and Industrialisation’ in Thomas H. Holloway (ed.) History of Latin America  (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008) pp.285-306.
  • ‘Capital, tecnología y nacionalismo: economía político de las tranvías urbanos en América Latina, 1850-1940’ Transportes, Servicios y Telecomunicaciones XIV (junio de 2008) 91-118.
  • ‘Crisis, tecnología y eficiencia: los ferrocarriles de capital británico durante los años de transición’ Mário Justo López & Jorge Waddell (eds.) Nueva Historia del Ferrocarril en la Argentina: 150 años del políca ferroviaria (Buenos Aires: Lumier 2007) pp.485-518.
  • ‘States and Markets in Latin America: the rise and decline of economic interventionism’ in J. Lears & J. van Scherpenberg (eds.) Culture of Economy: Economics of Culture (Heidelberg, Universitätsverlag Winter, 2004) pp. 31-58.
  • ‘Transporte y comunicaciones’ in Academia Nacional de la Historia Nueva Historia de la Nación Argentina Tomo IX – Cuarta Parte: La Argentina del siglo XX, c.1914-1983 (Buenos Aires, Planeta, 2002) pp.151-84.
  • ‘A Indứstria na América Latina, 1850-1930’ in L. Bethell (ed.) História da América Latina, 1870-1930 (São Paulo, Ed USP, 2002) pp.111-174
  • ‘The Political Economy of State Making: the Argentine, 1852-1955’ in J. Dunkerley (ed.) Studies in the Formation of the Nation State in Latin America (London, Institute of Latin American Studies, 2002) pp. 161-88.
  • ‘Regulating the Private Sector: Government and Railways in Brazil c.1900’ in N. Böttcher and B. Hausberger (eds.) Dinero y Negocios en la Historia de América Latina (Frankfurt am Main, Vervuert/Iberoamericana, 2000) pp. 453-486.
  • (with Wilson Suzigan) ‘Industry and Industrialisation in Latin America: In Pursuit of Development’ Cuadernos de Historia Latinoamericana VIII (2000)  227-316.
  • ‘Business History in Brazil, the mid-nineteenth century to 1945’ in C. Davila & R. Miller (eds.) Business History in Latin America: The Experiences of Seven Countries (Liverpool, University of Liverpool Press, 1999) pp 43-59.
  • ‘Del Crecimiento al retraso económico: una revisión de los recientes debates sobre la historia económica y social argentina’ CICLOS  IX 18 (1999)  pp5-31.
  • ‘The Economics of the Latin American State: ideology, policy and performance, c. 1820-1945’ in D.A. Smith, D.J. Solinger & S.C. Topik (eds.) States and Sovereignty in the Global Economy (London, Routledge, 1999) pp. 99-119.
  • ‘Argentina’ in J. Buxton & N. Phillips (eds.) Case Studies in Latin American Political Economy (Manchester 1999) pp. 33-61.
  • ‘Globalización y formación del Estado: la economía de la construción estatal en Latinoamérica de la Independencia a la década de 1940’ Gaceta de Economía V 9 (1999) pp. 35-70
  • ‘Explaining Economic Decline: a review of recent debates in the economic and social history literature on the Argentine’  European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies LXIV (June, 1998) 49-68.
  • ‘Historia empresarial brasileña, c.1850-1945: tendencias recientes en la literatura’ in C. Dávila L. de Guevara (ed.) Empresa e historia en América Latina: un balance historiográfico (Bogotá, TM Editores, 1996) pp. 35-58.
  • ‘Historia da empresa: a literatura brasileira e argentina’ in S. Silva and Szmrecsanyi (eds.) Historia economica da primeira republica (São Paulo, Editora Hucitec, 1996) pp. 59-87.
  •  ‘Industry in Latin America’ in W. Reinhard & P. Waldmann (eds.) Nord und Sud in Amerika (Freiburg, Rombach Historiae, 1992) pp. 739-770.
  • ‘Economic Restructuring and Labour Scarcity: Labour in the 1920s’ in J. Adelman (ed.) Essays in Argentine Labour History (London 1992) pp. 177-98.