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América Latina en la historia económica

On-line version ISSN 2007-3496Print version ISSN 1405-2253


ARROYO ABAD, Leticia. Instability, Cost of Living, and Real Wages in Venezuela in the 19th Century. Am. Lat. Hist. Econ [online]. 2013, vol.20, n.3, pp.114-137. ISSN 2007-3496.

The 19th century was a tumultuous period in Venezuela. Wars, social unrest, and political instability plagued this country. At the same time, the economy expanded at a healthy rate fueled by the growth of the export sector that specialized in coffee and cacao. This article presents novel estimations on the cost of living and living standards for Caracas. The evidence indicates that the cost of living was high. Moreover, the standard of living, measured as the welfare ratio, improved throughout the century; however, it was low when compared to other cities in the world. The analysis suggests that instability is costly. As evidenced by the estimates from Caracas, domestic turbulent domestic conditions and lack of diversification of the export basket added volatility to the already fragile economic situation.

Keywords : prices; cost of living; welfare; real wages; Caracas; Venezuela.

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