Lost Decades: Lessons from Post-Independence Latin America for Today's Africa

42 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2006 Last revised: 14 Mar 2007

See all articles by Robert Bates

Robert Bates

Harvard University - Department of Government

John H. Coatsworth

Harvard University - Department of History

Jeffrey G. Williamson

Harvard University - Department of Economics, Laird Bell Professor of Economics, Emeritus; Honorary Fellow, University of Wisconsin - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Date Written: October 2006

Abstract

Africa and Latin America secured their independence from European colonial rule a century and half apart: most of Latin America after 1820 and most of Africa after 1960. Despite the distance in time and space, they share important similarities. In each case independence was followed by political instability, violent conflict and economic stagnation lasting for about a half-century (lost decades). The parallels suggest that Africa might be exiting from a period of post-imperial collapse and entering a period of relative political stability and economic growth, as did Latin America a century and a half earlier.

Suggested Citation

Bates, Robert and Coatsworth, John H. and Williamson, Jeffrey G., Lost Decades: Lessons from Post-Independence Latin America for Today's Africa (October 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12610. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=938403

Robert Bates

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

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John H. Coatsworth

Harvard University - Department of History ( email )

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Jeffrey G. Williamson (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics, Laird Bell Professor of Economics, Emeritus ( email )

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