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An emigrant economist in the tropics: Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen on Brazilian inflation and development

Self-reinforcing mechanisms in economics

André Roncaglia de Carvalho and Carlos Suprinyak ()

Cambridge Journal of Economics, 2022, vol. 46, issue 3, 561-579

Abstract: Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen was a ‘travelling economist’ in a double sense: after emigrating from Romania in the late 1940s, he became involved with the economic problems of the developing world through his engagement in Vanderbilt University’s Graduate Program in Economic Development. One of his missions brought him multiple times to Brazil between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s, leading to an article on the complicated dynamics between inflation and economic growth in developing countries – his sole incursion into the field of monetary economics. In this paper, we will set Georgescu-Roegen’s contribution against the background of the lively debates about inflation taking place in Brazil during the 1960s. Relatedly, we will show how he anticipated important aspects of later arguments about the perverse distributive effects of inflation. Finally, we will discuss why Georgescu-Roegen’s arguments had only limited influence, despite his prestige and connections within the Brazilian community of economists.

Keywords: inflation; income distribution; development economics; structuralism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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