Prices and Early Inflation in Buenos Aires During the First Half of the 19th Century (1824–1850)

Abstract: In the present work we study the evolution of the prices of the most representative goods of the Buenos Aires market in the decades after independence from the Spanish empire. The paper analyses the evolution of import, export and local prices in Buenos Aires for the first half of the 19th century and intends to contribute to a more accurate estimate of the intense process of price inflation and changes in relative prices that occurred in Buenos Aires during this period. We also aspire to be able to analyse the relationships between the increases in prices and the institutional effects of commercial blockades, the issuance of paper money and changes in the demand for goods that occurred in the commercial interaction of Buenos Aires. An attempt is also made to compare the dynamics of various baskets of goods, allowing us to evaluate the differentiated effects in local, regional and overseas supply and demand. With this in mind we analyse both general price indexes, with their main changes, and also aim to integrate a variety of products in baskets that represent as accurately as possible the diverse demands of the commercial space offered by the Buenos Aires market. Finally, we reexamine the effects of the price variations of the baskets of prices on various social sectors and regions linked to the significant interregional plaza represented by the Buenos Aires market.