Werner Baer

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Werner Baer (born 1931) is an American economist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Jorge Lemann Professor of Economics. He received his bachelor's degree from Queen's College in 1953, and a Master's and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1955 and 1958 respectively. His research centers on Latin America's industrialization and economic development, especially of Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI) and Brazil.

Baer’s research and writing focus primarily on the areas of industrialization, growth and economic development, public policy, inflation, and income distribution and equity.

He has a distinguished record of scholarly achievement, including such books as Industrialization and Economic Development in Brazil (1965), The Development of the Brazilian Steel Industry (1970) The Brazilian Economy: Its Growth and Development (1979), now in its sixth edition, as well as a lengthy stream of articles on a diverse range of economic and policy issues.

One of the unique aspects of Baer's work is the link he makes between historical, social, and institutional legacies of the Brazilian past and his direct and ongoing engagement with the most current issues of economic and public policy.

He has served on the editorial boards of the Luso-Brazilian Review, Emerging Markets Review, Economia Aplicada, Latin American Business Review, Revista Latinoamericana de Historica Economica y Social, Revista Paraguaya de Estudios Sociologicos, Latin American Research Review, and World Development.

He has taught at Yale (1961–65), Vanderbilt (1965–74), and the University of Illinois (1974–present), and he served as a program advisor for the Ford Foundation in Rio de Janeiro from 1967 to 1976. He has encouraged large numbers of young people to enter Brazilian studies and has recruited many, from both the United States and Brazil, to undertake doctoral studies in economics under his direction.

Baer’s multiple contributions have been widely recognized in Brazil. He has received the prestigious Rio Branco Medal from the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (December 2000), the Medalha de Honra da Inconfidência from the state of Minas Gerais (1995), and the National Order of the Southern Cross from the government of Brazil (1982).

Carlos Alberto Braga, an economist at The World Bank, notes that not only does Baer’s analysis of Latin American economic development occupy a well-deserved place in the economic literature dedicated to the region but also that he has been a highly influential thinker and researcher. This is because he has been responsible for establishing one of the largest networks of those interested in the economies of Latin American. His impact on debates about Latin America’s economic experience goes well beyond his writings.[1] Rafael Correa, the current president of Ecuador, and Alexandre Tombini, the current president of the Brazilian Central Bank, were advised by Baer during their time at Illinois.

His book, The Brazilian Economy: Growth and Development, is one of the only comprehensive studies in English of all aspects of Brazil's economic development, and is currently in its 7th edition.

He has served as a visiting lecturer at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as well as the New University of Lisbon, Portugal. He also served as an assistant professor at Yale and an instructor at Harvard.[2]


  1. ^ Braga, Carlos A. Primo, (2006)Import Substitution Industrialization in Latin America: Experience and Lessons for the Future. A paper prepared for a seminar in honor of Professor Werner Baer, held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, December 1–2, 2006.
  2. ^ http://www.economics.illinois.edu/people/wbaer/

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