Department or Program



On September 11th, 1973, Chile broke with its strong democratic history when the military bombed the presidential palace and Augusto Ugarte Pinochet began his 17-year dictatorship. On the day of the coup, a team of Chicago-educated Chilean economists presented a document they had been asked to draft by the Chilean Navy. It called for the abolition of the statist economy that characterized Chile at that time and the implementation of a free-market model. The free-market model that emerged under the dictatorship brought Chile to its position as one of the strongest economies in Latin America and its fundamentals are still in place in present-day Chile. The model is glorified by some and criticized by others because of the authoritarian atmosphere in which it was introduced. But the forced exit of Pinochet in 1990 and return to democracy provides an example to other Latin American countries that a free-market can only be sustained alongside a democratic regime. Drawing from personal interviews, archival material, and historical documents, I examine how and why an exchange between Chilean Universities and the University of Chicago began in the mid-1950s and how these ideas have carried through to reshape Chile’s economy. I focus on the context in which the exchange emerged and how the Chicago Boys’ policies infiltrated Chile. Ultimately, the longevity of the free-market policies demonstrates that they have been effective in bringing Chile to its superior economic position in Latin America today.

Level of Access

Open Access

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

Open Access

Available to all.