Was Argentina Really Better Off Than the United States in 1800?

Originally published at joefrancis.info Joe Francis When a prominent economic historian provides a new estimate of something, it is likely that the estimate will be taken at face value. Other economic historians will cite it, so it becomes reified, until it is treated as fact, even when it is little more than fancy. John Coatsworth’s […]

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Argentina: Decline or Urbanisation?

Originally published at joefrancis.info Joe Francis Recently the Economist published a front-page feature on ‘The Tragedy of Argentina: A Century of Decline‘. By summarising the current scholarship on the ‘Argentine paradox’, the article demonstrates why the study of the country’s history remains so necessary. The article begins with the standard claim that Argentina was rich at the beginning […]

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Profits and Terror in Argentina in the 1970s

Joe Francis New data on the profitability of Argentina’s largest corporations help explain the origins of its last military dictatorship. During Argentina’s military dictatorship of 1976-1983, up to 30,000 people were killed by the armed forces. Figure 1 provides an indication of why. The thick line is a ‘profit margin index’ of the fifty largest […]

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