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Accepted Paper:

The role of macroeconomic policy regimes in post-colonial commodity dependence  
Damon Aitken (SOAS)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the colonial roots of commodity dependence from the perspective of macroeconomic policy regimes and argues that commodity specialization persisted in economies unable to break out of colonial entanglement in peripheral hierarchies towards the upgrading of production capabilities.

Paper long abstract:

Two complementary yet usually distinct literatures, Latin American Structuralism (LAS) and the Global Production Network (GPN) approach shed light on the issue of enduring colonial commodity dependence. LAS lends rich insights to this topic by centering asymmetries between core and periphery economies in the realms of productive capabilities and macroeconomic policy control which are then linked to the GPN literature which demonstrates the importance of upgrading and enabling institutions and policies such as regulation to direct foreign investment to capability-generating production sectors. This paper argues that the inability to break out of macroeconomic hierarchies present in colonial and post-colonial eras; namely those of currency and capital investment, has hindered the ability of colonial economies to break out of commodity dependence. Colonial macroeconomic policy regimes and their post-colonial evolutions tended to lock economies into a pattern of commodity dependence as they did not recognize imbalances and hierarchies in structural macroeconomic power over trade and investment necessitating a coherent statist response. This paper provides a methodological framework by which to conceptualize the process of capability formation and the role that colonial macroeconomic and industrial policy management played historically and its evolution. It also provides an overview of available historical data on macroeconomic policy regimes, exports, and inbound investment composition pre- and post-colonialism globally. Utilizing this framework and historical data on British capital flows and British colonial trade, it demonstrates how colonial patterns of trade and investment endure due to a lack of macroeconomic production capability-generating policies and institutions.

Panel P08
The colonial roots of commodity dependence
  Session 3 Thursday 27 June, 2024, -