Liberty Review América Latina

Classical Liberalism in Guatemala

ECON JOURNAL WATCH 12.3 (2015): 460-478

Abstract: We give an account of classical liberalism in Guatemala, its successes, failures, and main figures. Classical liberalism is a young tradition in the country and relatively small. The three most important organizations are Universidad Francisco Marroquín, the Center for Economic and Social Studies (CEES), and the Center for National Economic Research (CIEN). The most important individual for liberalism in Guatemala has been Manuel Ayau, who passed away in 2010.

Filed under: Ciencia Política, Economía, Historia, Sociedad

Venezuela: Without Liberals, There Is No Liberalism

ECON JOURNAL WATCH 12.3 (2015): 375-399

Abstract: The Venezuelan economy evolved from a growth miracle (1920–1957) to a growth disaster (1960 to the present). This paper describes the institutional collapse behind this reversal of fortunes. To cast light on Venezuela’s U-turn we provide a brief historical account, and we discuss the role played by educational organizations, the media and culture, and political and entrepreneurial elites in the destruction of liberal institutions. We also describe the most prominent liberal reactions to the pervasive institutional decay endured by the country. Finally, a major lesson emerges from this case study: illiberal mindsets coupled with the absence of leadership bring dire consequences for the people’s standard of living.

Filed under: Ciencia Política, Economía, Historia, Sociedad

Tracing the Reversal of Fortune in the Americas: Bolivian GDP Per Capita since the Mid-nineteenth Century


Abstract: In the centuries before the Spanish conquest, the Bolivian space was among the most highly urbanized and complex societies in the Americas. In contrast, in the early twenty-first century, Bolivia is one of the poorest economies on the continent. According to Acemoglu et al. (Q J Econ 117(4):1231–1294, 2002), this disparity between precolonial opulence and current poverty would make Bolivia a perfect example of “reversal of fortune” (RF). This hypothesis, however, has been criticized for oversimplifying long-term development processes by “compressing” history (Austin in J Int Dev 20:996–1027, 2008). Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Economía, Historia

Pre-Independence Spanish Americans: Poor, Short and Unequal…Or the Opposite?


Abstract: This paper attempts to establish a debate between alternative views of living standards in Spanish America during the viceregal period. Since 2009, a growing literature has shared a «common language» based on a similar, though not identical, methodology. As never before, this «new generation» of studies is built upon long series of quantitative data and international comparisons of nominal wages and prices which, in some cases, cover the whole Early Modern Era. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Historia

Cádiz y el Experimento Constitucional Atlántico

POLÍTIC Y GOBIERNO 21.1 (2014): 3-24

Este trabajo analiza la pertenencia y el lugar de la Constitución de Cádiz dentro del conjunto de la experiencia constitucional atlántica. Después de ubicar contextualmente el debate historiográfico entre quienes reducían el resultado de la deliberación gaditana a meras imitaciones de códigos importados del extranjero y aquellos que argumentaban su defensa en términos nacionalistas e históricos, es posible posicionar el experimento de Cádiz más cerca del ciclo constitucional hispanoamericano que del francés o estadounidense. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Ciencia Política, Historia

Crises and Crashes: Argentina 1825-2002


The objective of this paper is twofold. First, it identifies and categorizes the currency crises suffered by Argentina from 1825 to 2002. Second, it looks for regularities in the behavior of key macroeconomic variables in the neighborhood of crises by means of graphic analysis, non-parametric and econometric techniques Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Economía, Historia

América Latina Archive

Recent Posts: Liberty Review

Reassessing the productivity gains from trade liberalization

JAEBIN AHN, ERA DABLA-NORRIS, ROMAIN DUVAL, BINGJIE HU, LAMIN NJIE REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS Abstract: This paper reassesses the impact of trade liberalization on productivity. We build a new, unique database of effective tariff rates at the country‐industry level for a broad range of countries over the past two decades. We then explore both the direct […]

Government extraction and firm size: Local officials’ responses to fiscal distress in China

YU LIU JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE ECONOMICS Abstract: This paper studies how government extraction behaviors respond to local fiscal distress in China. We exploit the 2002 Chinese Income Tax Reform which exogenously cut local government revenues from income taxes roughly by half. We find that, when facing fiscal distress, local officials resort to informal taxes, such as […]

Plato’s Concept of Liberty in the Laws

YOUNG, C. HISTORY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT Abstract: In this article, I argue that Isaiah Berlin’s distinction between positive and negative concepts of liberty is useful for articulating nuanced aspects of Platonic liberty, but that this terminology has led readers to fail to grasp the full dimensions of Plato’s conception of liberty and the essential virtue that […]

Hands, Not Lands: John Locke, Immigration and the ‘Great Art of Government’

SMITH, B. HISTORY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT Abstract: This paper looks at the transmigration of peoples in Locke’s thought, particularly the migration of foreigners into England. I pay close attention to the ‘great art of government’ passage in the Second Treatise which shows that rather than exhibiting a hard right to exclude aliens, rulers are obligated to […]

A Schumpeterian Model of Top Income Inequality

CHARLES I. JONES, JIHEE KIM JOURNAL OF POLITICAL ECONOMY Abstract: Top income inequality rose sharply in the United States over the last 40 years but increased only slightly in France and Japan. Why? We explore a model in which heterogeneous entrepreneurs, broadly interpreted, exert effort to generate exponential growth in their incomes, which tends to raise […]

Gordon Tullock’s Legacy

PETER BOETTKE AND ROSOLINO CANDELA, RICHARD WAGNER, WILLIAM SHUGHART, AND RANDALL HOLCOMBE THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW 23.2 Abstract: Trained as a lawyer and practiced in the arts of war and diplomacy, Gordon Tullock opened economists’ eyes to new ways of viewing constitutional construction, the challenges of bureaucracy, the nature of government regulations, the problem of rent […]

The Hayek-Friedman hypothesis on the press: is there an association between economic freedom and press freedom?

CHRISTIAN BJØRNSKOV JOURNAL OF INSTITUTIONAL ECONOMICS Abstract: The Hayek–Friedman hypothesis states that economic freedom is causally associated with stable democracy. I test a particular element of the hypothesis focusing on press freedom, which is arguably a necessary component of any democratic polity. Combining the Freedom House index of press freedom and the Heritage Foundation Index of […]

The Birth of Pork: Local Appropriations in America’s First Century

SANFORD C. GORDON and HANNAH K. SIMPSON AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW, Volume 112, Issue 3 Abstract: After describing a newly assembled dataset consisting of almost 9,000 local appropriations made by the U.S. Congress between 1789 and 1882, we test competing accounts of the politics surrounding them before offering a more nuanced, historically contingent view of the […]

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