Import Substitution in Argentina: Aims and Results

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-5-20-25

P. Yakovlev, Institute of Latin America, Russian Academy of Sciences, 21/16, B. Ordynka Str., Moscow, 115035, Russian Federation; Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, 36, Stremyannyi Per., Moscow, 115054, Russian Federation (

Abstract. Import substitution policy replaced the model of export-oriented agricultural economy that existed in Argentina during the period of 1870–1929. Its mechanism was relatively simple: agricultural products, for which the country had optimal natural conditions, were exported to the external markets, while wide range of industrial products, machinery and equipment were imported. Exports generated substantial revenues (providing a lion's share of state income), and the imports quite satisfied domestic demand for capital and consumer goods. The history of import substitution policy in Argentina can be divided into two stages. At the first stage (1930–1952), the government created its basic tools with a stress on development of labor-intensive light industries whose products were intended to meet domestic consumer demand. During the second phase (1953–1976), Argentine political establishment, not satisfied with the results achieved in the previous period, initiated the policy of “super industrialization”, namely, the creation or expansion of basic capital-intensive industries: metallurgy, machinery, chemicals and petrochemicals, energy. In these years domestic production of machinery and equipment for agriculture and light industry, durables, pharmaceuticals increased dramatically, the national military-industrial complex, scientific and technical sectors were created. In other words, Argentine’s policy of import substitution created a new frame of economic relations. It brought both positive and negative results which fully showed up in mid 70s. Since then, the crisis of import substitution policy became especially evident amidst the world process of globalization and dynamic formation of worldwide value-added chains. Argentina found itself largely isolated from these trends and came into clinch with the changing external conditions. So, under the rumbling populist and nationalist rhetoric it proceeded into the prolonged recession.

Keywords: Argentina, agrarian export, Great Depression, import substitution, super industrialization, neoliberal reforms, crisis 

For citation:
Yakovlev P. Import Substitution in Argentina: Aims and Results. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2016, vol. 60, No 5, pp. 20-25.

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