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Economy: Latin America


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.
Limited places are also open for exchange students.
Please note: this course takes place in The Hague. Traveling between University buildings from Leiden to The Hague may take about 45 minutes.


Economy: Latin America gives students a foundation in economic development as it occurs in the Latin American region. The course is split into two blocks. Block one traces the macroeconomic features of the region as a whole, starting with the different phases of development e.g. export-led growth, state-led industrialisation, that have delineated the path of the region since the early twentieth century, before moving on to examine the state of resources, environment and population in the region, though the cases of land (and other natural resources), employment, and finance. Block two introduces students to issues of contemporary development in the region, e.g. extractivism, and discusses some of the long-term challenges e.g. inequality.

The course focusses on a set of features which Latin American countries share as a basis for understanding the direction in which their economies have evolved, attentive to the nuances and differences that result from the region’s diversity and help illustrating in which ways the region relates with the world economy.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, students will have acquired an overview of the historical and contemporary economic developments and political economy dynamics in their chosen area and deepen their existing knowledge and understanding of different economic systems, economic institutions, economic processes and actors in the different countries of the region, using the concepts acquired during the courses Principles of Economics and Foundations of Political Economy.

Students will also be acquainted with academic debates on selected topics in the specific region. They will be introduced to key concepts e.g. terms of trade, trade balance, that can provide an interpretive view of economic development in the region, reflecting on the changing theoretical perspectives.

By tracing different approaches to economic development in the region, the course aims at providing students with sufficient theoretical tools to understand and situate ways of thinking about development in historically specific configurations, assessing the resulting economic performance but also its social consequences and its political drivers.

After the course, students will have developed:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the most important classic and contemporary theories in the field of economics and political economy necessary for the understanding of the global economy;

  • Knowledge and understanding of key concepts and concept structures in the field of economics and political economy necessary for the understanding of the global economy;

  • Basic knowledge and understanding of methods in the field of economics and political economy relevant to the understanding of the global economy;

  • A further knowledge and understanding of relevant methods in the field of economics and political economy;

  • Knowledge and understanding of the position of Latin America in the world from a global perspective;

  • Knowledge and understanding of the economic developments in Latin America from a global perspective;

  • In-depth knowledge of the political economy of finance, trade, industrialisation, welfare and natural resources in its global context.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction


Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover issues both inside and outside the readings.


Tutorials are held once every three weeks, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform your tutor in advance. Being absent at more than one of the tutorial sessions will result in a lowering of your tutorial grade (30% of the end grade) with 1 point for each session missed after the first session. Please note that being absent at any tutorial session may have a negative impact on the grade of the assignment due for that particular tutorial session. This is at the discretion of the tutor.

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), which equals 140 hours, broken down by:

Component Estimated time
Attending lectures 24 hours
Attending tutorials 8 hours
Assessment hours (exams) 4 hours
Study of compulsory literature 64 hours
Completing assignments, preparing for classes and exams 40 hours

Assessment method


  • The Mid-term Exam (30%) will be in the format of short answer questions.

    This exam will cover the material in the first half of the course, including the required readings.

  • The Final Exam (40%) will be in the format of short answer questions plus a long essay question.

    This exam covers the material of the second half of the course, including the required readings.


Partial grade Weighing
Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40%

End Grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of Tutorial grade, Midterm Exam grade, and Final Exam grade.

  • The weighted average of the Midterm Exam grade and the Final Exam grade needs to be 5.5 or higher.

  • This means that failing Exam grades cannot be compensated with a high Tutorial grade.


If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), or the weighted average of Midterm- and Final Exams is lower than 5.5, there is a possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier Midterm- and Final Exam grades. No resit for the tutorial is possible.
Please note that if the Resit Exam grade is lower than 5.5, you will not pass the course, regardless of the tutorial grade.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2019 – 2020.

Exam review and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.


Blackboard will be used for tutorial groups. Students are requested to enroll on Blackboard, **but only after correct enrolment in uSis.

Reading list

The required readings that will accompany the lectures and tutorials, are available in the Leiden University Catalogue (online database), and will be announced on Blackboard.

Indicative reading for the course: Bértola, Luis., and José Antonio. Ocampo. Economic Development of Latin America Since Independence. Initiative for Policy Dialogue. Oxford: OUP Oxford, 2012.


  • Enrolment through uSis for Tutorials and Lectures is mandatory.

  • Students will be enrolled for Exams by the Administration Office, as long as they have a valid Tutorial enrolment.

  • General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. M.G. Palacio Ludeña

When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number, and tutorial group number.
Please use your University email-address (uMail) when communicating with any person or department within Leiden University.

Student Affairs Office for BA International Studies