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Volume 53 / Social Sciences


DAVID W. SCHODT, Professor of Economics, St. Olaf College

ALTHOUGH THE DEPRESSED STATE of the Ecuadorian economy has continued to limit opportunities for research and publication by national authors, the economic research that is currently being published tends to be more focused, more analytical, and of generally higher quality than in the past. At the same time, the number of studies of the Ecuadorian economy published outside the country has grown substantially, reflecting both increased interest in Ecuador by foreign scholars as well as greater openness to collaboration between national and foreign scholars.

The continued development and publication of high quality statistics on the Ecuadorian economy has undoubtedly contributed to strengthening published research on economic themes. The National Accounts Division of the Central Bank has led this effort with its annual Cuentas Nacionales series (item bi 91009937). Its recent publication of quarterly economic data should be of particular interest to macroeconomists (see also item bi 93008425). Useful statistical information on the public sector, always difficult to find, is presented in a recent World Bank study (item bi 91009956). A set of comprehensive statistics on the energy sector is available for the first time (item bi 93008243), and a new series on current economic trends also provides a wealth of statistical data (item bi 91006094).

Several surveys of the Ecuadorian economy and of economic policy-making have appeared. The newly-issued Ecuador: a country study is an excellent introduction to the country's economy and includes a very useful bibliography (item bi 93008351). Articles by Pachano (item bi 90010678) and Hidalgo et al. (item bi 91024252) are essential for understanding economic policy-making during the 1980s. Thoumi nicely combines institutional and political issues in his article on economic policy formulation (item bi 91004937).

As Farrell notes in her survey of economics research in Ecuador (item bi 91009946), agriculture has been one of the most studied economic themes. Although this is a continuing trend, the economic analysis of agriculture has become increasingly sophisticated. Whitaker and Colyer's survey of Ecuadorian agriculture is the best single source currently available on this topic (item bi 93008471). The debate over proletarianization of the Ecuadorian peasantry is enriched by Foster's careful research (item bi 91011698), and sustainable resource use has also begun to receive attention (items bi 93008438 and bi 93008439).

Macroeconomic topics, particularly those linking macroeconomic policy to sectoral performance of social conditions, have traditionally received little investigation. Articles by Salgado (item bi 90010894), Byerlee (item bi 90014279), and Vos (items bi 91018624 and bi 93008470) contribute to our understanding of the macroeconomic policy for agriculture and industry; articles by De Janvry (item bi 93008349) and Montúfar (item bi 93008327) are important additions for understanding sectoral performance.

Also worth noting are two works on regional economic integration, an important topic that merits additional research (items bi 91021206 and bi 91021209), and a collection of articles on drug trafficking in Ecuador which, although of uneven quality, is worthy of mention due to the paucity of studies on this topic for Ecuador (item bi 93008424).

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