The Kellogg Institute for International Studies presents “State Formation and Economic Backwardness in South America: 1800-2000,” a lecture by Sebastián Mazzuca, assistant professor of political science, Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, Johns Hopkins University.
Economic backwardness in Latin America seems easy to explain. Since Latin America’s geography is generous, politics must be the culprit. In this lecture, Mazzuca argues that the origins of backwardness in Latin America can be traced to political geography, especially the way in which the process of state formation demarcated national territories. The 19th-century process resulted in the emergence of countries with dysfunctional combinations of subnational regions. All relevant periods of growth with a potential for takeoff were truncated by the perverse effects of Latin America’s political geography.
Mazzuca’s research focuses on the origins and transformations of political regimes and their co-evolution with economic development. A 1999 Kellogg visiting fellow, he holds an M.A. in economics and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.