EH452      Half Unit
Latin American Development and Economic History

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Alejandra Irigoin, SAR 611


This course is available on the MSc in Economic History, MSc in Economic History (Research), MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation, MSc in Global Economic History (Erasmus Mundus), MSc in History of International Relations, MSc in International and World History (LSE & Columbia), MSc in Political Economy of Late Development and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course will consider some of the major topics in the development and economic history of Latin America. The topics to be explored will be the role of geography, the environment and factor endowments, the role of institutions and policies, problems of taxation, spending and representation in the capacities of the state and constitutional and political developments in the 19th and 20th century, the protracted character of Latin America’s inequality, the ‘curse’ from natural resources dependence, the macroeconomics of industrialization and the political economic nature of Latin American populism. Using reciprocal comparisons with the US, South East Asia, between Latin American countries, and across time the course will revisit the current interpretations of Latin American development in the long run and will frame the analysis of particular issues of policy-making of the present into the economic historical context.


20 hours of seminars in the LT.

This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual classes and flipped-lectures delivered as short online videos.

This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Lent Term.

Formative coursework

Students are required to write one essay or equivalent pieces of written work.

Indicative reading

V. Bulmer-Thomas, V (2014) The economic history of Latin America since independence 2nd ed Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. S. Edwards, 2010. Left behind: Latin America and the false promise of populism. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. P. Franko, 2007. The puzzle of Latin American economic development. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. JL. Gallup, (2003) Is geography destiny?: lessons from Latin America Latin American development forum. Washington, DC, World Bank. Stein, Ernesto, Mariano Tommasi, Carlos G. Scartascini, and Pablo T. Spiller. 2008. Policymaking in Latin America: how politics shapes policies. Washington, D.C.: Inter-American Development Bank. Ocampo, JA & Ross, J (2011), The Oxford Handbook od Latin American economics (Oxford, Oxford University Press). Bertola, L & Ocampo, JA (2012), The Economic Development of Latin America since Independence (Oxford, Oxford University Press); Scartascini, Stein, GC & Tommasi, M (2010), How democracy Works: political institutions, actors and arenas in Latin American policy making (Washington DC IADB); CH Blake, (2007) Politics in Latin America 2nd edition (Houghton Mifflin Company). V. Bulmer-Thomas, JH, Coatsworth, and R. Cortes Conde, (2006) The Cambridge economic history of Latin America Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Vol. I & I; AA.VV (2003) Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean. Breaking with history? (Washington IRDB); Edwards, Esquivel, G & Marquez, G (2007) The Decline of Latin American Economics: growth, institutions and crises (Chicago University of Chicago)


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2019/20: 9

Average class size 2019/20: 8

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information