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Roots of Brazilian Relative Economic Backwardness - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128097564, 9780128097571

Roots of Brazilian Relative Economic Backwardness

1st Edition

Author: Alexandre Rands Barros
Paperback ISBN: 9780128097564
eBook ISBN: 9780128097571
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 15th July 2016
Page Count: 292
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Roots of Brazil’s Relative Economic Backwardness explains Brazil’s development level in light of modern theories regarding economic growth and international economics. It focuses on both the proximate and fundamental causes of Brazil’s slow development, turning currently dominant hypotheses upside down.

To support its arguments, the book presents extensive statistical analysis of Brazilian long-term development, with some new series on per capita GDP, population ethnical composition, and human capital stock, among others. It is an important resource in the ongoing debate on the causes of Latin American underdeveloped economies.

Key Features

  • Argues that low human capital accumulation is the major source of Brazilian relative underdevelopment
  • Considers class conflict as the major determinant of Brazil’s historically low human capital accumulation and underdevelopment
  • Presents new statistical information about Brazilian early development


Upper-division undergraduates and graduate students worldwide working in labor economics, economic development, and international economics, especially in Latin American subjects

Table of Contents

  • Dedication
  • Chapter 1. Introduction
    • 1.1. Introduction
    • 1.2. Structure of the Arguments of the Book
    • 1.3. Summary of the Major Hypotheses
    • 1.4. Additional Comments on Assumptions and Analytical Method
  • Chapter 2. Historical Origins of Brazilian Relative Backwardness
    • 2.1. Introduction
    • 2.2. Long-Term Data on Per Capita GDP Growth: First Exercise
    • 2.3. Alternative Decomposition of the Historical Sources of Relative Backwardness
    • 2.4. Conclusions
  • Chapter 3. A Simple Model of World Equilibrium With International Trade and No Restriction on Factor Mobility
    • 3.1. Introduction
    • 3.2. Model Setup in the World Economy With Many Goods and Many Factors of Production
    • 3.3. General Equilibrium
    • 3.4. Decomposing the World into Countries
    • 3.5. Conclusions
  • Chapter 4. Some Empirical Evidence on the Sources of Brazilian Current Relative Backwardness
    • 4.1. Introduction
    • 4.2. Some Basic Development Arithmetic
    • 4.3. Human Capital Availability Differences
    • 4.4. Physical Capital Availability Differences
    • 4.5. Natural Resources
    • 4.6. Exploring Further the Potential Role of the Many Factors of Production in Brazilian Relative Backwardness
    • 4.7. Conclusions
    • Appendix
  • Chapter 5. Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital and Its Role in Physical Capital Accumulation
    • 5.1. Introduction
    • 5.2. Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital
    • 5.3. Model Unveiling the Logic of Rational Intergenerational Human Capital Transmission
    • 5.4. Additional Comments
    • 5.5. Note on Free Capital Mobility
    • 5.6. Some Consequences for Brazilian Relative Backwardness
    • 5.7. Conclusions
  • Chapter 6. Migration Profile and Human Capital Building in Brazil and the United States in the 19th Century
    • 6.1. Introduction
    • 6.2. European Mass Migration in the 19th Century
    • 6.3. Necessary Assumptions to Build Surrogated Per Capita GDP
    • 6.4. Data and Its Origins
    • 6.5. Simple Exercise Comparing American and Brazilian Per Capita GDP
    • 6.6. Conclusions and Additional Comments
  • Chapter 7. Genesis of Brazilian Human Capital: From Colony to the 19th Century
    • 7.1. Introduction
    • 7.2. Some Comments on the Nature of Human Capital
    • 7.3. Africans, Native Americans, and Europeans in the Brazilian Setup
    • 7.4. Evolution to the Early 19th Century
    • 7.5. Simulated Structure of Brazilian Society in the Early 19th Century
    • 7.6. Conclusions and Additional Comments
  • Chapter 8. Relative Declining in the 19th Century
    • 8.1. Introduction
    • 8.2. Long-Term Trend of Brazilian Human Capital Availability in the 19th Century
    • 8.3. Generated Human Capital Series
    • 8.4. Additional Comments on Human Capital Building in Europe in the 19th Century
    • 8.5. Model Interpretation of the Widening Educational Gap in the 19th Century
    • 8.6. Conclusions
  • Chapter 9. Stabilization of Relative Backwardness
    • 9.1. Introduction
    • 9.2. Long-Term Dynamics of Backwardness
    • 9.3. Explaining the Stabilization of Relative Backwardness
    • 9.4. Additional Comments
    • 9.5. Role of Immigration to Halt the Relative Decline
    • 9.6. Conclusions and Additional Comments
  • Chapter 10. Alternative Explanations for Brazilian Relative Backwardness
    • 10.1. Introduction
    • 10.2. General Framework to Understand Alternative Views Explaining Brazilian Relative Backwardness
    • 10.3. Latin American Structuralist Hypothesis
    • 10.4. Dependency Theory
    • 10.5. New Institutionalists
    • 10.6. Conclusions and Additional Comments
  • Chapter 11. The Fundamental Cause of the Emergence of Relative Backwardness
    • 11.1. Introduction
    • 11.2. Model Set-Up
    • 11.3. Major Fundamental Determinant of Brazilian Relative Backwardness
    • 11.4. Major Differences From Alternative Hypotheses
    • 11.5. Conclusions
  • Chapter 12. Social Conflict as the Source of Brazilian Relative Backwardness
    • 12.1. Introduction
    • 12.2. Major Social Conflicts in Brazilian History
    • 12.3. Dynamics of Social Conflicts and the Relative Backwardness Legacy
    • 12.4. Conclusion
  • Chapter 13. Social Conflicts and Human Capital Accumulation in the Period of Search for National Identity
    • 13.1. Introduction
    • 13.2. Major Protagonist Social Classes Within This Period
    • 13.3. Social Affinities Among Social Classes
    • 13.4. Class Conflicts in the Period of Search for National Identity and Incentives for Educational Policy
    • 13.5. Relevant Facts About Human Capital Evolution After 1930
    • 13.6. General View of Class Conflict Consequences for the Evolution of Human Capital
    • 13.7. Conclusions
  • Chapter 14. Conclusion
    • 14.1. Introduction
    • 14.2. Restatement of the Major Hypothesis
    • 14.3. Some Relevance of the Conclusions
  • References
  • Index


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2016
15th July 2016
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Alexandre Rands Barros

Alexandre Rands Barros is Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, U.S.A., and was Senior Associate Member in St. Antony´s College in the University of Oxford in England at two non-continuous moments. He was a Professor of Economics at Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife-PE, Brazil. Currently he is president in a Brazilian private company, although he continues to work on academic research about Brazilian Development.

Affiliations and Expertise

Datametrica, Recife, Brazil


"The poor performance of the Brazilian economy since the 1980s has been object of an ever long debate about its causes. This book provides important insights into this debate, bringing a provocative interpretation about the historical development of the Brazilian economy that explains the roots of its backwardness. Based on modern theories about economic growth, the author presents new statistical indicators that support his claims. This is a stimulating contribution to the academic research on the Brazilian economy." --Carmem Feijó, Fluminense Federal University

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