Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

Inflation and Underdevelopment: A Comment on Seer’s Appraisal of the Structuralist Theory of Inflation

Fontaine Reis de Araujo Patrick, Unifal-MG

Duddley Seers was a British economist who is known to have provided one of the most comprehensive and disclosed studies of the structuralist theory of inflation. ‘A theory of inflation and growth in underdeveloped countries’ was published in 1962 as part of a debate with G. Maynard and helped expand the reach of Latin-American structuralism. His analysis benefited both from a close collaboration with ECLAC (between 1959 and 1961) and from a contact with a broader Anglo-Saxan audience, through Oxford Economic Papers. Besides, he developed his interpretation of the structuralist theory of inflation when this approach had already achieved maturity, therefore after most of the major contributions to the core of the theory. The seminal papers of Prebisch, Noyola-Vásquez, Sunkel, Pazos and Furtado had all been published in 1962, which means that Seers was able to encompass the bulk of the theory. The objective here is to recover the debate with G. Maynard and to assess to what extent Seer’s article may be seen as a synthesis of the structuralist theory of inflation. A close reading of his contribution will therefore be presented in perspective with the developments of the Latin-American structuralism.

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Keywords: Inflation, Underdevelopment, ECLAC, Duddley Seers