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Whereas manufacturing seems to hold the key to modern economic growth, the role of manufacturing in economy-wide convergence across countries is debatable. One strand of scholarship argues that productivity levels in manufacturing tend to remain stable across countries, and that economy-wide convergence takes place through structural transformations. Another strand maintains that productivity levels of less-developed countries tend to approach those of developed countries unconditionally, and that deindustrialization thwarts economy-wide convergence. We examine productivity in Brazilian manufacturing relative to the United States, 1912–2019. The result shows dramatic swings in the Brazilian/US productivity ratio, increasing in the decades following the Second World War, peaking in the late 1970s at impressively high levels, and declining precipitously thereafter. This sluggish performance of Brazilian manufacturing since the peak in the late 1970s has probably hindered income convergence with richer countries.