November 12th, 2014 · The New School · New York

graa confJuan Martín Graña, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, successfully completed a two-week academic exchange at The New School. During this Fellowship, Juan worked to deepen his research on industrialization as a development strategy in Latin America. He sought to present a more complete picture of IS and to propose a theoretical and strategic framework for Argentina’s future development. Juan was the first Fellow of the 2014-2015 President Nestor Kirchner Fellowship to visit New York.

Graña is a researcher at the Centre for Population, Employment and Development Studies (CEPED) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Buenos Aires.

During Juan’s two weeks in New York City, he had the opportunity to present his work and receive feedback from New School faculty and students in two seminars and as a guest lecturer in Development Economics, a graduate-level course in the Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs, invited by professor Sakiko Fukuda Parr. He also met individually with academics and practitioners in his field.

Seminars with The New School Community

During Juan’s two weeks at The New School, he was required to present his work during two closed-door seminars with New School faculty and students. These exchanges are opportunities for the Fellow to receive detailed feedback on their ongoing research and preparation for their final presentation.

On November 4th, 2012, Juan had his first seminar with professors Barry Herman, Michael Cohen, and Margarita Gutman, Coordinator Desiree LaVecchia, and students Rebecca Hollender, Kia Fedler, Vanessa Leon, Martha Jaimes and Maria Carrizosa. Juan presented his research to the group, starting with a brief overview of Argentina’s industrial and economic history and then explaining how industrialization should be considered and used as a development tool. Several important questions were raised by the group, including: why there has not been structural change in Argentina and what are the roadblocks to structural change? Why is industrialization overlooked as a component of development agenda in the region? What are some proposed policy solutions?

Professors Rick McGahey, Robert Buckley, Nidhi Srinivas, Chris London and Mark Setterfield, Michael Cohen and Margarita Gutman and Coordinator Desiree LaVecchia, attended the second seminar, held on November 11th, 2012. They were joined by Masters and PhD students Manuel Valderama, Monica Hernandez, Belen Terceros and Cristina Handal Gonzalez. This seminar focused on redefining the central question of Juan’s work. Having met with professional and academics in the field, his research had broadened, and his argument had sharpened. With the help of faculty and students in the second seminar, Juan prepared for his final public lecture presentation.

Interviews and Visits in New York

Juan spent most of his time meeting with experts in the fields of development, economics and industrial policy. He met with Michael Cohen, Director, International Affairs, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy Director; Rama Chorpash, Director of Product Design & Associate Professor, Parsons The New School for Design; Gabriel Diaz Maggioli, Director of University Language Learning and Teaching; Duncan Foley, Leo Model Professor, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics; Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Professor of International Affairs, International Affairs, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy; Jose Perez Gabilondo, Argentinian Consulate General; Willem Van Der Geest, Chief of Development Strategy and Policy Analysis at UN/DESA; David Howell, Professor of Urban Policy, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy; Christopher London, Assistant Professor of International Affairs, International Affairs, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy; William Milberg, Dean and Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research; Richard Nelson, George Blumenthal Professor Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Business and Law, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University; Director, Program on Science, Technology and Global Development, The Earth Institute; Anwar Shaikh, Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research and Carlos Teixeira, Associate Professor of Design and Management, Parsons The New School for Design

Public Lecture

ola2014nov12becapnk grania poster01piso s letterOn November 12th, 2014, PNK Fellow Juan Martín Graña presented his research in a Public Lecture, “Reframing Industrial Strategies in Latin America” held in the Orozco Room at The New School. New School Provost Tim Marshall and Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations María Cristina Perceval introduced Juan. Provost Marshall discussed the PNK Fellowship and noted the many applicants from throughout South America that applied for the Fellowship, which is now in its fourth edition. Ambassador Perceval elaborated on Juan’s paper, as a means to situate the audience to the topic Juan would present. She stated that she was honored to be a part of the PNK academic exchange, noting how important it is for the Latin American region, as well as for those of us here in New York.

Juan presented his paper, clearly articulating his proposal for industrialization as a development strategy. He illustrated a history of industrialization by import substitution (IS) strategies in Argentina highlighting the fact that during between the 1930’s and 1950’s, Argentina had the greatest success of all Latin American countries in its Import Substitution Policy. During this timeframe, GDP growth was significant and sustainable and improved alongside an increase in manufacturing jobs. However, the country saw the greatest regression in the Latin American region following the neoliberal shift of the 1970’s. Between the 70’s and 90’s, GDP growth stagnated, grew slightly, and then dropped dramatically alongside a significant deindustrialization of the country. Graña then connected the Argentine story to other countries and to the historical moment of accumulation of capital worldwide before moving to the last decade when, as a result of manufacturing and the implementation of many new social programs, Argentina has experienced an increase in wage share and real wages and a reduction in unemployment and poverty. However, Juan’s research suggests that the policies of the last decade have been horizontal and non-conditional and will therefore reproduce the same structural economic bias.

Juan completed his lecture with a proposal for what Argentina should and should not focus on in order to successfully implement industrialization as a development strategy and while not reproducing economic bias. He suggested that Argentina should not focus on scale intensive sectors, with the exception of Primary Products processing or on low quality manufacturing, where labor costs matter (due to Southeast Asia competition). The country should instead focus on: Engineering intensive sectors with differentiated products (agricultural machinery or medical equipment); R+D intensive sectors (pharmaceutical, seeds and biotechnology); and cultural industries/design intensive segments in consumer markets (clothes, shoes, food).

The Public Lecture ended with a lively discussion on Juan’s presentation led by Professor of Economics Anwar Shaikh and Ricardo Forster, Secretary of Strategic Thought, Ministry of Culture of Argentina. The discussants provided insightful comments and asked several questions regarding Mr. Graña’s lecture before opening up the discussion for questions and comments from the audience.

Representative María Cristina Perceval concluded the discussion by thanking everyone for the excellent discussion and commended Juan on his work both as a Fellow and in Argentina.  

+ What is it like to be a President Néstor Kirchner Fellow?, by Juan Martín Graña

+ Public Lecture by Juan Martín Graña, First PNK Fellow 2014-2015

+ Watch the video of his Public Lecture

+ Read Juan Graña´s Working Paper


  • {modal url=|width=705|height=420}See Pictures of his stay in New York{/modal}

The PNK Fellowship has been expanded to all Latin American and Caribbean countries, and will award four fellowships for 2015-2016!Information is open, and submissions will be received from March 1st to May 25th, 2015 

Read more about the President Néstor Kirchner Fellowship Program 

This program is supported by the JULIEN J. STUDLEY FOUNDATION