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Inconvertible Paper Money, Inflation and Economic Performance in Early Nineteenth Century Argentina

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 May 2000

MARIA ALEJANDRA IRIGOIN
Affiliation:
History Department, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina

Abstract

To date, factor endowments or comparative advantages in the international economy, have been at the centre of explanations for the economic performance of Argentina in the nineteenth century. Historians have focused on the increasing volume of rural exports and the availability of land on the frontier. Yet, the contemporary fiscal and monetary events have been ignored. From the 1820s to the 1860s, the state was mainly financed by issues of inconvertible paper currency. Hence, depreciation and high volatility of the means of payment became a basic feature of the Buenos Aires economy. This article will reassess the expansion of the rural economy in the light of the impact of inflationary finances.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2000 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

Data used in this article are part of the author's PhD research at the Economic History Department, London School of Economics and Political Science. The research was partly funded by the LSE and the Fundación Antorchas (grant # A-1339/1-000032). The author greatly benefited from discussions with Samuel Amaral and colleagues from the Economic History Department Workshop at LSE. Comments from Colin Lewis, Stanley Engerman, Stephen Haber, Forrest Capie, Andres Regalsky, Fernando Rocchi and Regina Grafe contributed to previous drafts. Preliminary versions were presented at the Instituto Ravignani-UBA and Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Argentina. The usual caveats apply.
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