Latin America and the International Economy

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Alejandra Irigoin CMK.C313


This course is available on the BA in History, BSc in Economic History, BSc in Economic History with Economics, BSc in Economics, BSc in Economics and Economic History, BSc in Economics with Economic History, BSc in Environmental Policy, BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics and BSc in International Relations. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

The course examines the development trajectory of Latin America and its relation with the international economy from the Early Modern period (c. 1700) to the present. It focuses on the political and economic factors that drove - and that resulted from- the region’s engagement with the world attending to the environment, population and factor endowments, institutions and policies. The causes and outcomes of this 'engagement' will be explored in the following broad themes: the determinants of Latin American growth performance, the political economic legacy of European rule and of the formation of modern states and markets; the ambivalent relation with international markets and institutions, the continuous quest for development together with political and macroeconomic instability; the economic aspects of different political experiments and political culture - from authoritarian to democratic regimes and various generations of populism interspersed with military rule and direct democracy- and the short and long run impact on equality, poverty and the prospect for sustained intensive growth.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 3 hours of lectures and 3 hours of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to write four essays or equivalent pieces of written work.

Indicative reading

V. Bulmer-Thomas (2003) The Economic History of Latin America since Independence, Cambridge University Press and (2012) The Economic History of the Caribbean since the Napoleonic Wars, Cambridge University Press; P. Franko, (2007) The puzzle of Latin American economic development, Rowman & Littlefield; J. L. Gallup, (2003) Is geography destiny?: lessons from Latin America, World Bank; E. Stein, et al. (2008) Policymaking in Latin America: how politics shapes policies, IADB; V. Bulmer-Thomas, JH Coatsworth, and R. Cortés Conde (2006) The Cambridge Economic History of Latin America, Cambridge University Press 2 vols; SH. Haber (1997) How Latin America fell behind: essays in the economic histories of Brazil and Mexico, 1800-1914, Stanford University Press; R. Thorp, Progress, Poverty and Exclusion; R. Thorp, E. Cárdenas, & JA Ocampo, (2000) An economic history of twentieth-century Latin America, Palgrave; L Bethell, The Cambridge History of Latin America, vols IV and VI; V. T.E Skidmore & P.H. Smith (2004) Modern Latin America.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Teachers' comment

Survey questions on feedback to students may be non-informative because assessed work comes later in the term than the survey.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2012/13: 27

Average class size 2012/13: 10

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills