Part of the impact come from just what you'd expect: changes in China's demand for Latin American exports. But a surprisingly large portion is indirect, amounting to a secondary shock transmitted through the U.S. and European Union economies. That is, when China imports less from the United States and the European Union, the U.S. and EU import less from Latin America. Come to think of it, though, that shouldn't be much of a surprise, since the interdependence of national economies is growing ever more complex. China's Emergence in the World Economy and Business Cycles in Latin America. Inter-American Development Bank Working Paper Series IDB-WP-266. Download (free) here.
Solid BRIC Work. The BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China), all of which are coming into their own in economic terms, are an endless source of fascination to economic historians these days. One big question is: Why did they fail to catch fire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when America and Western Europe were growing at a prodigious rate?
Latika Chaudhary (Scripps), Aldo Musacchio (Harvard), Steven Nafziger (Williams), and Se Yan (Peking University) focus on one key element: the lack of mass access to primary education. They argue that in each country, provision of public education was decentralized, allowing local elites to prevent such investment in human capital. There's much more to the story, of course: each BRIC country faced unique challenges to growth. But whether or not you buy one-size-fits-all explanations (to be fair, the authors don't entirely), the paper is worth reading because it is chock-full of anecdotal evidence about the development experiences in countries that were home to half the world's population in 1910 and now constitute the most dynamic force in the global economy. Big BRICs, Weak Foundations: The Beginning of Public Elementary Education in Brazil, Russia, India and China. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper 17852. Download (limited free distribution) here.