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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

Spring 2005


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
38070 TTh
8:00 AM-9:30 AM
UTC 3.132

Course Description

Note: Appropriate academic accommodation will be provided for any student with a disability. To arrange, provide relevant documentation to the Office of the Dean of Students - Services for Students with Disabilities. In exchange, I would request that when any of you respond to a question, make an observation, or raise a question, you speak up loud and clearly-not only for my benefit, though that it will most certainly be, but also for the benefit of others who are seated at some distance from you in the classroom, particularly those behind you. The UTC classrooms are not noted for their acoustical virtues! Aim of course: Our ultimate aim this semester is to see why, paraphrasing a recent assertion by the Inter-American Development Bank, increasing productivity, the principal source of growth and rising standards of living, has been a particular problem for Latin America, which has fallen well behind East Asia since the 1960s-and fallen below the overall developing- country average in the 1980s and 1990s. This is particularly telling if we consider how much one continent, Africa, has depressed this average. The World Bank has estimated that “the region's average productivity growth over 1967-87 was zero, whereas the averages for East Asia and the developing countries as a whole were, respectively, 1.9 and 0.6 percent in this interval. Why is sustained growth so problematic in most of Latin America when in Asia, growth has been surging? Latin America has, after all, enjoyed political independence since the early 1800s, received transformative capital inflows between c.1870 and 1930, and, starting in the late 1940s, even pioneered the development doctrine-state-managed industrialization--that swept so much of the Third World. To organize an appropriate frame of reference for our inquiry, we shall begin with a brief discussion of two contemporary schools of thought: the “geography matters” approach and the “institutions matter” approach, which, though presented by their exponents as rivalrous, are essentially complementary. We shall use them to compose an analytical framework that should help us understand both the economic implications of the region's striking heterogeneity and the chief development issues that confront its economies.

Grading Policy

The mid-term exam counts for approximately 30% of the final grade, the final examination for 35%. Your performance on a special assignment will count for 20%, and active class participation for 15%.


1) Rosemary Thorp, Progress, Poverty and Exclusion: and Economic History of Latin America in the 20th Century (1998). 2) Alejandro Gaviria et al., Is Geography Destiny? Lessons from Latin America (2003)


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