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Industry and Industrialisation: What Has Been Accomplished, What Needs to Be Done

Collin Lewis

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Revista de Economia, Vol. 23, pp. 7-25, 1999

It is now thirty years since the publication of the seminal study on São Paulo by DEAN (1969). That work challenged a key assertion in the prevailing paradigm - structuralism - then dominating much social science and historical writing on Latin America. It also cast doubt on similarly central aspects of the soon-to-be ascendant dependista approach, a school described as historico-structuralism (FISHLOW, 1988). For scholars rooted in cepalista and early dependency traditions, it was a truth widely-held that Latin American industrialisation was triggered by the world crisis of the 1930s. The pre-1929 (or pre-1914) "model" of export-led growth was variously presented as frustrating industrialisation or inimical to development. (It must be remembered that, at the time, industrialisation and development were held to be virtually one and the same). DEAN refuted this orthodoxy, at least in the case of São Paulo. He demonstrated that activity in the manufacturing sector was most dynamic during periods of export buoyancy. With the demise of structuralism and dependency widely predicted by their critics, has the DEAN thesis on industrialisation finally been vindicated? This essay will examine how the historiography on modern Latin American industrialisation has evolved over the last three decades. It will appraise the principal directions in research, reflecting on the extent to which the route pioneered by DEAN has been followed by others. It will also identify what needs to be done: where and what are the gaps in the literature?

Number of Pages in PDF File: 20

Keywords: industrialization, industry

JEL Classification: O14

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Date posted: June 13, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Lewis, Collin, Industry and Industrialisation: What Has Been Accomplished, What Needs to Be Done. Revista de Economia, Vol. 23, pp. 7-25, 1999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=992811

Contact Information

Collin Lewis (Contact Author)
London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )
Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
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