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Volume 55 / Social Sciences

ECONOMICS: BOLIVIA


JEFFREY FRANKS, Economist, The International Monetary Fund


THE ECONOMIC LITERATURE ON BOLIVIA shows improvement in both quantity and quality, although it is still an understudied economy. This progress is due in part to the international attention Bolivia has received from its 1985 stabilization program and from the ongoing international cocaine crisis. Another contributing factor to the improvement has been a spate of recent high-quality works by a few academics, particularly economist Juan Antonio Morales and economic anthropologist Ricardo Godoy.

Papers on stabilization and structural adjustment continue to dominate the macroeconomic literature. With the New Economic Policy now nearly a decade old, several studies explore the longer-term issue of why Bolivian growth has not lived up to the early post-1985 euphoric expectations. Particularly good publications in this area are Morales and Sachs' "Bolivia's Economic Crisis" (item bi 94002373), Morales, Espejo, and Chávez's "Temporary External Shocks and Stabilization Policies for Bolivia" (item bi 94001747), and Antezana's Análisis de la nueva política económica (item bi 94000829). Other recommended macroeconomic studies are Pastor's comparative study of Peru and Bolivia in the 1980s (item bi 94000826) and Clements and Schwartz's article on currency substitution (item bi 94005648).

There have been a number of recent works on the economics of coca and cocaine in Bolivia, many of them polemical and lacking in firm analysis. One exception is the recommended piece by De Franco and Godoy, "The Economic Consequences of Cocaine Production in Bolivia: Historical, Local, and Macroeconomic Perspectives" (item bi 93002692). For additional worthwhile studies on drugs and drug traffic in Bolivia, see the chapter on "Politics and Government: Bolivia" (p. xxx). Finally, there is the usual collection of sectoral studies of uneven quality, with mining, agriculture, and the informal sector receiving particular attention. Contreras and Pacheco's book on private sector commercial mining from 1939-89 provides needed information on the fastest growing sector of Bolivian mining (item bi 94000844).


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