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

André de Carvalho and Carlos Suprinyak ()
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André de Carvalho: Unifesp

No 604, Textos para Discussão Cedeplar-UFMG from Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

Abstract: After his escape from communist Romania in the late 1940s, Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen used to describe himself as an “emigrant from a developing country”. Through his professional engagements with Vanderbilt University, he also came to visit many other parts of the developing world. One of his missions brought him multiple times to Brazil between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s, an experience which led him to write an article on the complicated dynamics between inflation and economic growth in developing countries – first published in Portuguese in 1968, then in English in 1970. In this paper, we will set Georgescu-Roegen’s contribution against the background of the lively debates on inflation taking place in Brazil at the time, stressing how his analysis departed from other approaches. Relatedly, we will show how he anticipated aspects of later controversies regarding the perverse distributive effects of inflation. Finally, we will explore some of the reasons why Georgescu-Roegen’s arguments had only limited influence over other scholars then working on inflation, despite his prestige and very strong connections with the Brazilian community of economists.

Keywords: inflation; income distribution; development economics; structuralism; monetarism; Vanderbilt University (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 26 pages
Date: 2019-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-hme
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