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Volume 55 / Social Sciences

ECONOMICS: ECUADOR


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


IN THE LATE 1980S AND EARLY 1990S, Ecuador experienced a variety of economic changes, some of which were new and some of which, although old, emerged with increased saliency in public discussions. From the point of view of the economic literature, one departure from the past was the appearance of more theoretically grounded and empirically based studies which sought to analyze these changes.

The article by Emanuel and Dahik (item bi 94006531) analyzes the preceding decade from the point of view of two of the architects of Febres Cordero's economic policy. Infante (item bi 93023297), Jaramillo (item bi 93003477), and Jacome (item bi 94005857) bring econometric tools to bear on what, for Ecuador, were historically high rates of inflation that accompanied the deterioration of the economy during the 1980s and early 1990s. The tension between policies of economic adjustment and social conditions is analyzed by De Janvry, Sadoulet, and Fargeix in their path-breaking study (item bi 93023270), while Calvache examines trends in social spending between 1988-90 (item bi 93003475). The series from ILDIS provides a discussion of government social policy (item bi 93023251). Placencia and Franco use survey data to analyze women in the labor market during the 1980s, a topic that has received little attention.

Privatization of State enterprises was an important component of the economic policies promoted by Sixto Durán Ballén's Administration. While sparking intense political debate, the subject has received little attention in the economics literature. A notable exception is Alberta Acosta's survey (item bi 94012386), which also contains a brief but interesting discussion of military enterprises. The sucretización program receives its most careful analysis to date in Younger's work (item bi 94003831).

After years of protectionist policies, Ecuador expanded its participation in regional free trade agreements. This important trend receives useful attention in a number of studies. Cáceres' empirical analysis of Ecuador's participation in the Andean pact is valuable (item bi 94005058), as are those studies that focus on the consequences of trade liberalization for small agricultural producers.

Environmental concerns have only recently become part of the national dialogue, when conflicts among indigenous groups in the Ecuadorian Amazon, the government, and foreign petroleum companies gained international attention. Nevertheless, as Southgate and Whitaker show in their excellent study (item bi 95014330), the process of environmental degradation is both broader and more longstanding than the recent conflicts would indicate. Non-governmental organizations, both Ecuadorian and international, have played an important role in bringing environmental problems to public attention. Meyer's works discuss Ecuadorian environmental NGOs, providing useful information on Fundación Natura, the most influential of these (items bi 93022365 and bi 93022194). Finally, proceedings from a conference organized by the Escuela Politécnica Nacional provide some useful insights into Ecuadorian views in this area (item bi 93023299).


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