Research Seminar | The Unbearable Lightness of War in Nineteenth Century Latin America
Building on seminal studies of Latin America, scholars have long argued that reliance on custom duties and foreign credit in world peripheries, coupled with limited warfare, have inhibited war driven dynamics of state formation beyond Europe. This article reassesses the immediate economic and political consequences of international warfare at the height of Latin American state formation. Contrary to conventional wisdom, I find that these states could seldom rely on trade taxes and foreign capital to finance wars. Conversely, inter-state conflict is associated to domestic taxation and intra-elite conflict, suggesting that the mechanisms by which wars make states were systematically present. After exploring the effects of warfare in a panel of eighteen Latin American countries from independence to 1913, I look at the causal mechanisms at play during individual wars, revealing how specific constraints such as naval blockades and sovereign defaults forced states to extract from their societies.
Luis Schenoni is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, University College London (UCL), and an Affiliated Professor at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE). He works on state building and international conflict, with a focus on Latin America. Luis' research has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, International Studies Quarterly, and Security Studies, among other journals. A Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, Luis was also a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Konstanz before joining UCL.
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