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Inventory of the Chicago boys and Latin American market reformers collection
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  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: Chicago boys and Latin American market reformers collection
    Date (inclusive): 1992-2011
    Collection Number: 2011C39
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Material: Spanish and English
    Physical Description: 1 manuscript box, 42 digital audio files (2.6 GB) (0.4 linear feet)
    Abstract: Sound recordings and transcripts of interviews, and associated material, relating to free market policies in Chile and elsewhere in Latin America, and to the influence of economists associated with the University of Chicago in instituting them. Interviews conducted by Tobias Switzer and William E. Ratliff. Those interviewed include Rolf Lüders Schwarzenberg, Sergio de Castro, Martín Costabal Llona, Alvaro Donoso, Ernesto Fontaine, Gonzalo Vial Correa, Miguel Schweitzer, Roberto Kelly, Domingo Cavallo and Hernán Cubillos Sallato.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives


    Original sound recordings and videorecordings restricted; use copies available for most materials at the Reading Room workstation. The remainder of the collection is open for research; materials must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Chicago boys and Latin American market reformers collection, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2011.


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at Link . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Historical Note

    The first truly methodical though flexible implementation of market reforms in the mid-twentieth century was by the Chicago Boys in Chile. This cadre of market-oriented economists was trained chiefly at the University of Chicago (UC); they sprang to public attention after the military coup that ousted Socialist president Salvador Allende in September 1973.
    Between 1958 and the 1973 coup, Chile had elected successive Conservative, Christian Democratic, and Marxist governments, all of which failed to address adequately the demands of the often combative and unruly Chilean electorate. As early as the mid-1950s U.S. government officials were lamenting the paucity of good economists in Latin America, where the discipline was dominated by the structuralist and import-substitution ideas of Argentine Raúl Prebisch, head of the Santiago-based United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America. With support from the Ford Foundation, a program was launched that enabled many Chilean students to pursue graduate studies in economics in the United States, mostly at UC, and U.S. professors to conduct research from a base at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUC) in Santiago. Contrary to the common assumption that Milton Friedman was the dominant influence in Chile, a different UC (later University of California at Los Angeles) professor, Arnold Harberger, was in most respects the father of the Chicago boys. His goal was to teach economics fundamentals to students from Chile and demonstrate how economics is linked to the real world.
    Harberger taught for decades at UC but, beginning in 1984, moved to UCLA, though still teaching for a while at UC. As a professor and private consultant with international development agencies, Harberger is renowned for successfully relating the fundamentals of economics to the challenges and needs of the real world through his enthusiastic hands-on involvement and his pioneering studies on taxation, development, cost-benefit analysis, and trade policy. Although best known for his work with Chilean reformers, he also worked on shorter-term projects with reformers from all parts of the world. Harberger is a former president of the American Economic Association.
    For two decades neither teaching nor research under the program had any direct policy influence in Chile. But deep and long-standing disorientations throughout society quickly worsened during the Allende period; by September 1973 inflation had reached 1,000 percent, setting the stage for a military coup. After a year and a half of procrastination, the military government, headed by General and later President Augusto Pinochet, turned the national economy over to the Chicago Boys in 1975. Given a free hand in economic policy, they transformed Chile--not without hitting some potholes along the way--from a failing statist economy into the soundest internationally integrated market economy in Latin America. Even before the Chicago Boys became active players in Chile, Harberger had begun including other Latin Americans in the program; in time those people had an impact around the world. As of 2011, several Chicago Boys are ministers in the Chilean government of President Sebastián Piñera.
    In the early 1970s Hernán Cubillos, the foreign minister during the Beagle Channel dispute with Argentina, and former naval officer Roberto Kelly urged ten Chicago Boys to produce "The Brick" ("El Ladrillo") that outlined future policies of the Chicago Boys. El Ladrillo was based on an earlier reform program drawn up for (and rejected by) Conservative president Jorge Alessandri (1958-64) by Sergio de Castro, minister of finance from 1977 to 1982, whom Harberger called "the most prominent leader of the first big wave of Chilean reform."
    The Chilean experience attracted the attention of governments from Latin America, Russia and former Communist Eastern Europe to Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China (PRC). The PRC, rapidly expanding its trade relations in Latin America, recognized Chile's economy as the most effective and stable in the region and in 2006 signed its first bilateral free trade agreement in the Latin world with Santiago. As of 2011, Chile exports more to China than it does to the United States.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection consists primarily of interviews with the Chicago Boys. The early interviews in this collection on audiocassettes were conducted by Hoover Americas curator William Ratliff in 1992 in Santiago and Entre Lagos, Chile. The interviewees included key early supporters of the Chicago Boys, most importantly Roberto Kelly and Hernán Cubillos, in addition to historian Gonzalo Vial. Five later interviews (January 2011) were set up with the assistance of a second-generation Chicago Boy and PUC dean, Francisco Rosende; they were conducted at the Libertad y Desarrollo think tank in Santiago (Luis Larraín, executive director) by Tobias Switzer, an officer in the U.S. Air Force studying at the PUC, and PUC adjunct professor Luis Gonzales. The five interviewed were Sergio de Castro, Rolf Luders, Juan Andrés Fontaine, Alvaro Donoso and Martín Costabal. Full transcripts of the interviews are available, as are a recorded lecture and PowerPoint presentation on the Chicago Boys that Luders gave at the Hoover Institution in March 2011.
    The main non-Chilean market reformer in this collection is Domingo Cavallo, a doctoral graduate of Harvard University, who was minister of the economy under two Argentine presidents. Material on him includes an interview conducted by Ratliff in Buenos Aires in 1993; a seminar (including a discussion of currency boards and related matters with Milton Friedman), and an interview with Ratliff, at the Jordan Winery in Healdsburg, California in May 1997; and a lecture in 2007 at Stanford University.
    In addition to the interviews there is a copy of "El Ladrillo," some manuscripts and papers of Cubillos and Cavallo, and other related documents.
    An increment received in 2011 consists of interviews with Arnold C. Harberger. Alito (as Harberger is known in Latin America) was a guest at the Hoover Institution for a week in late June 2011 and gave interviews on the Chicago Boys and related projects.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Castro, Sergio de.
    Cavallo, Domingo, 1946-
    Costabal Llona, Martín.
    Cubillos Sallato, Hernán, 1936-2001
    Donoso, Alvaro.
    Fontaine, Ernesto.
    Kelly, Roberto.
    Lüders Schwarzenberg, Rolf.
    Ratliff, William E.
    Schweitzer, Miguel.
    Switzer, Tobias.
    Vial Correa, Gonzalo.
    Chile--Economic conditions.
    Free enterprise.
    Latin America--Economic conditions.