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Volume 57 / Social Sciences

ECONOMICS: PARAGUAY AND URUGUAY


MARTIN RAMA, Senior Economist, World Bank


URUGUAY

OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS, new themes have emerged in Uruguayan economic literature. Among them, the analysis of the corporation occupies an important place. Indeed, several of the studies reviewed this biennium use a variety of statistical sources to describe the features and performances of different groups of businesses, ranging from small and medium enterprises to powerful “economic groups.” Other studies trace the development of State-owned enterprises, from their ownership by British capital (item bi 96021199) to their nationalization earlier in this century (item bi 96021170), and, finally, to the first serious attempts at modernization in recent years. Still other works focus on collective action by employers’ associations and trade unions, particularly in relation to Mercosur. In a similar vein, several studies analyze other forms of collective action, including cooperative health-care providers and neighborhood associations. In most cases there is an effort to firmly ground the study on data analysis.

Mercosur remains, of course, an important topic in the reviewed literature. However, unlike previous years, there are now several studies which do not merely describe the agreements and the challenges they pose to a small country such as Uruguay. Recent studies focus on more specific topics, ranging from the impact of increased regional integration on industrial relations to the consequences of geographic location of production at the regional level. One study reviewed here represents one of the most competently executed studies of the Uruguayan economy yet written; this work goes beyond regional integration to evaluate the overall implications of the Uruguayan trade regime on a variety of economic outcomes (item bi 96021160).

A few other topics have received considerable attention in recent years. Among them, as in other years, is the labor market. Some of the studies reviewed in this edition of HLAS demonstrate interesting applications of econometric techniques to microeconomic labor market data. Other labor market and human resource studies are more descriptive. One frequently covered topic is the historic analysis of government expenditures, revenue, and debt from independence until relatively early in this century. Finally, several studies have a strong statistical bias, which is enough to exclude them from a review of economic literature. Such is the case with studies of seasonality or common trends in aggregate economic time series. Studies dealing with poverty and its measurement, on the other hand, were included in this volume.


PARAGUAY

Compared to the more sociological or philosophical orientation of Paraguayan economic literature in previous years, this edition of HLAS includes studies with significant empirical content. Several deal with agricultural production, a welcome development for a largely agricultural country. Specifically, the link between public policies, farming revenues and rural poverty is competently analyzed more than once (especially, in item bi 96021174). Other studies deal with specific agricultural activities, such as cotton production. Finally, this edition of HLAS includes studies on economic history, as well as on sectoral and macroeconomic policies. It should be noted, however, that there continues to be a dearth of published studies on topics related to the Paraguayan economy.


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