Danilo Spinola

Cycles, Economic Structures and External Constraints: A Structuralist Study on the Causes of Economic Volatility in Latin America

Year: 2019

Bart Verspagen & Neil Foster-McGregor


The main objective of this thesis is to understand the causes behind the endogenous volatile behavior of Latin American economies in a New-Structuralist perspective. Many distinct authors argue that the repetition of strong boom-bust dynamics is a structural problem in the economic development of Latin America. In this research we search for the underlying causes of this behavior, discussing volatility as an endogenous phenomenon, intrinsic to the characteristics of these fragile economies.We assess this research question following empirical and theoretical approaches. The empirical approach initially consists on identifying the main characteristics of economic growth cycles in Latin America from real growth data. Secondly, we test the assumptions of the models developed in this thesis. Thirdly we check how the economic system behaves when there are exogenous shocks to some specific variables. The theoretical part of this research develops itself from growth models, offering explanations of the causes of Latin American endogenous volatility. In terms of the theoretical framework, this thesis is based on three main classic pillars, all somehow related to the Structuralist theory: (1) The Goodwin model, composed of endogenous cycles that emerge in the relationship between economic growth and income distribution; (2) The Balance of Payments Constrained Model (BPCM), that relates economic growth to external constraints, and (3) The Prebisch-Singer hypothesis (center-periphery framework), relating economic growth and development traps to the position of a developing economy in the international division of labor (global economic system).

Selected publications by Danilo Spinola

Articles (journal, professional, popular)
Nomaler, Önder, Danilo Spinola & Bart Verspagen, 2021, `R&D-based economic growth in a supermultiplier model, Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, 59, More information
Spinola, Danilo, 2021, `The La Marca model revisited: Structuralist goodwin cycles with evolutionary supply side and balance of payments constraints, Metroeconomica, 72, More information
Spinola, Danilo, 2020, `Uneven development and the balance of payments constrained model: Terms of trade, economic cycles, and productivity catching-up, Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, 54, More information

UNU-MERIT Working Papers
Nomaler, Önder, Danilo Spinola & Bart Verspagen, 2021, Demand-led industrialisation policy in a dual-sector small balance of payments constrained economy, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2021-038
Nomaler, Önder, Danilo Spinola & Bart Verspagen, 2020, Schumpeter and Keynes: Economic growth in a super-multiplier model, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2020-049
Magacho, Guilherme R. & Danilo Spinola, 2020, Supply and demand in Kaldorian growth models: a proposal for dynamic adjustment, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2020-032
Porcile, Gabriel, Danilo Spinola & Giuliano Yajima, 2020, Patterns of growth in structuralist models: The role of the real exchange rate and industrial policy, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2020-027
Spinola, Danilo, 2020, Uneven development and the balance of payments constrained model: Terms of trade, economic cycles, and productivity catching-up, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2020-003
Spinola, Danilo, 2020, The La Marca Model revisited: Structuralist Goodwin cycles with evolutionary supply side and balance of payments constraints, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2020-002
Spinola, Danilo, 2020, Debating the assumptions of the Thirlwall Model: A VECM analysis of the Balance of Payments for Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2020-001
Porcile, Gabriel & Danilo Spinola, 2018, Natural, effective and BOP-constrained rates of growth: Adjustment mechanisms and closure equations, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2018-003
Spinola, Danilo, 2018, Instability constraints and development traps: An empirical analysis of growth cycles and economic volatility in Latin America, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2018-002

External working papers
Spinola, Danilo & Beatriz Calzada Olvera, 2022, Complexity and Productive Structure in Latin America: A Network Analysis of Trade Patterns, More information

Conference contributions
Calzada Olvera, Beatriz & Danilo Spinola, 2017, “Balanced and unbalanced trade in Latin America: A network analysis”, Festival for New Economic Thinking, Scotland, UK