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Introductory Paper: Latin American and U.S. Universities: A Forty Years Analysis

  • Economics
  • Education


C:\WINNT\Profiles\asaguez\Perso LATIN AMERICAN AND U.S. UNIVERSITIES: A FORTY YEARS ANALYSIS SEBASTIÁN EDWARDS* 1. INTRODUCTION Forty years ago two prominent Chilean economists, Anibal Pinto and Osvaldo Sunkel, argued that it was a mistake for Latin Americans to study economics abroad. According to them, graduate economics training in the United Kingdom, France and the United States was inadequate, and did not prepare students to deal with the unique problems of Latin America. In an article titled “Latin American Economists in the United States” they argued that Latin American universities should develop their own graduate programs, and concentrate on teaching the type of economics that would help the region address its structural deficiencies. The programs the authors had in mind were similar to those that at the time were being taught at CEPAL/ECLAC.1 During the last forty years, and contrary to what Pinto and Sunkel argued, an ever growing number of Latin American students have been trained in the United States and other industrial countries. There have been, however, a number of important changes in the nature of this training. Most students now stay in graduate school until they finish their doctorate. This contrasts sharply with the situation as recently as 20 years ago, when many Latin American students returned to their countries after two years of course work, and did not finish the research/ dissertation phase of the program. Other important differences are that now a growing number of women are getting graduate degrees in foreign universities, and that many Latin American students stay abroad and join the faculties of major research universities in the United States, the U.K. and other European countries. Cuadernos de Economía, Año 40, Nº 121, pp. 399-412 (diciembre 2003) * Henry Ford II Professor, University of California, Los Angeles and Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research. Email: [email protected] This paper has been prepare

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