Proposal preview

From the Inside Out: Globalization and Latin American Economic Growth, Development, and Change from the Colonial to Modern Periods

For centuries, Latin America has been an active participant in the process of globalization, yet scholarship on globalization has assumed that the region’s experience has been unidirectional. That is, scholars have focused on how larger and richer regions have shaped economic growth, development and change in Latin America’s economies, and how external institutions and agencies have influenced domestic policies and decisions in Latin American countries. In general, this scholarship has highlighted the negative effects of globalization in Latin America and, especially, how it has led to the allocation of resources to the international sector at the expense of the domestic economy. This “outside-in” globalization, so the scholarship argues, has led not only to poor economic performance when compared to the experience of globalization in the United States, Japan, or Western Europe; it has also cemented the region’s place in the list of “underdeveloped” economies in the world.

The participants of this proposed panel challenge the pervasive notion that globalization was something that “happened to” Latin America. We examine Latin American economic growth and development from an “inside out” approach that examines how governments and domestic institutions shaped development internationally. We show how Latin America was an important participant in, not merely a passive recipient of, global interactions.

We ask how international, global, and transnational approaches contribute to our scholarly understanding of the region. How did Latin American policy makers and economic actors shape and adapt international ideas and institutions to local conditions? What were the advantages of these importations to domestic innovation, growth, and development? Even more important, how did Latin America’s embrace of globalization and adaptation of international institutions in turn shape global industrial, commercial, and financial exchanges? That is, if we dare to view the region as something more than a passive recipient of advanced knowledge and technique–or worse, as a recipient who could only poorly adopt what richer nations had to offer–we might find the region’s imprints all over the world.

This panel invited participants from a wide spectrum of disciplines and methodologies that engage the questions: How does an approach that takes Latin American countries as active participants in their economic history contribute to our understanding of Latin America’s development and its global impact? How does shifting the focus from “the effects of globalization on…” to “how local conditions and institutions influenced the exchanges brought on by globalization…” change our interpretations of the process of economic growth, development, and change?

We welcome participants and an audience who examine the fundamental institutions that shaped Latin America’s economic history within three categories: (1) the state and legal institutions; (2) technologies and intellectual property rights; and (3) government finance and monetary policies.


  • Yovanna Pineda, University of Central Florida,, United States
  • Moramy López Alonso, Rice University,, United States

Session members

  • Susan Gauss, University of Massachusetts Boston,
  • José Carlos Orihuela, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú,
  • José Alejandro Peres-Cajías, Escuela de la Producción y la Competitividad, Universidad Católica Boliviana,
  • Bernardita Escobar, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile,
  • Julia Sarreal, Arizona State University,
  • Carlos Contreras, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú,
  • Anne Hanley, Northern Illinois University,
  • Kari Zimmerman, University of St. Thomas,
  • Margarita Fajardo, Sarah Lawrence College,
  • Catalina Vizcarra, University of Vermont,
  • Mario Fernando Matus González, Universidad de Chile,
  • Jane Knodell, University of Vermont,
  • Yovana Celaya, Universidad Veracruzana,

Proposed discussant(s)

  • Edward Beatty, University of Notre Dame,