Not available in 2022/23
Latin America and the International Economy

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Alejandra Irigoin, SAR.6.15


This course is available on the BA in History, BSc in Economic History, BSc in Economic History and Geography, BSc in Economic History with Economics, BSc in Economics, BSc in Economics and Economic History, BSc in Economics with Economic History 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.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 40 hours across Michaelmas Term and Lent Term. 

This year, while we are planning for teaching to be delivered in-person, it is possible that some or all may have to be delivered virtually.

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

Formative coursework

Students are expected to write a short weekly report, to be presented verbally, either individually or in a team throughout the course.

Indicative reading

V. Bulmer-Thomas (2014) The Economic History of Latin America since Independence, Cambridge University Press, Ibid. (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; Ocampo, JA, and Ross, J (2011). The Oxford Handbook of Latin American Economics. Oxford: Oxford University Press;  Bertola, L and Ocampo, JA (2012), The economic development of Latin America since independence. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Scartascini, CG., Stein E. and Tommasi, M (2010). How democracy works: political institutions, actors, and arenas in Latin American policymaking. [Washington, D.C.]: IADB; Blake, C.H (2007) Politics in Latin America 2nd edition Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company. Edwards, S, Esquivel, G & Márquez, G. (2007) The decline of Latin American economies growth, institutions, and crises. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; Bethell, L. (1984/2008) The Cambridge History of Latin America, Cambridge University Press, vols IV and VI


Exam (70%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (30%, 3000 words) in the LT.

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

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2021/22: 31

Average class size 2021/22: 17

Capped 2021/22: No

Lecture capture used 2021/22: Yes (LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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