EH452      Half Unit
Latin American Development and Economic History

This information is for the 2021/22 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.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access).  In prevvious years we have been able to provide places for all students that apply, but that may not continue to be the case.

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 MT.

This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Michaelmas Term. This year, while we are planning for most classes and seminars to be delivered in-person, it is possible that some or all of this teaching may have to be delivered virtually.  Lectures will either be recorded or given in the form of live webinars.

This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas 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. Cortés 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.

While we hope to be in a position to be able to offer in-person assessment, it remains possible that examination for this module will be online.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: 9

Average class size 2020/21: 9

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information