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Volume 57 / Social Sciences


JEFFREY R. FRANKS, Economist, International Monetary Fund

WHILE THE PAST FEW YEARS have seen the publication of an increasing number of works on Bolivian economics, the quality of the writings remains uneven. The advent of desktop publishing has made it easier for Bolivian organizations to produce a greater quantity of monographic studies, as well as seminar and conference proceedings. A small number of gems can be found among the proceedings, but they are few and far between. The most consistently high quality work inside Bolivia has been that published in the journal Análisis Económico, and that produced by UDAPE (Unit for Economic Policy Analysis) and the think-tank CEDLA (Center for Agrarian and Labor Studies).

The stabilization and structural adjustment programs initiated in Bolivia since 1985 continue to dominate macroeconomic writings. There is little new being said in these works with the exception of a few interesting studies on the political aspects of economic reforms (items bi 96002476 and bi 95020606). CEDLA has issued a valuable series of book-length studies on different aspects of stabilization and structural adjustment, including works examining the impact of adjustment on the labor market and industry (items bi 96002475 and bi 96002484 respectively).

Urquiola’s study on poverty may be the best among many works tackling this issue (item bi 99000316). Questions of gender and race have begun to figure more prominently in economic studies, including excellent works on the economic costs incurred by indigenous peoples by Wood and Patrinos (item bi 95007974) and Patrinos and Psacharopoulos (item bi 94009819). The informal sector of the economy remains a popular subject, but one where the quality of output varies widely. As would be expected given its economic importance, there are several works on the role of coca and cocaine in the Bolivian economy, though here again, quality is uneven.

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