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Volume 57 / Social Sciences


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

SINCE THE MID-1980S, debate surrounding stabilization and structural adjustment policies and their social and economic consequences has been a prominent feature of the literature in Ecuador and throughout Latin America. Based on impressive monetary and national accounts statistics produced by Ecuador’s Central Bank, macroeconomic performance is readily measured, and several inflation studies have tapped this source. Social indicators are much less well-developed; however, two publications offer a detailed analysis of current conditions and track future trends. An review of the World Bank’s 1994 Ecuador Living Standard Measurement Survey determines an important baseline for measuring poverty (item bi 96022206), and INEC’s survey provides data for examining basic needs satisfaction (item bi 97002637).

As usual, there are a number of solid general economic history works. Two sources are distinguished by their careful use of archival data: Pineo’s rich social history of Guayaquil during the cacao boom draws on previously unexploited archival resources (item bi 98000110), and nicely complements Arosemena’s history of the Ecuadorian cacao and chocolate industries (item bi 96002862). This type of research has not yet been applied to the more recent period of the banana boom.

Survey data collected from settlement areas in the Ecuadorian Amazon region have allowed for empirical analysis of agriculture within the region. Pichón’s work is notable among several that draw on these data for an empirical analysis of the determinants of deforestation (item bi 97011437).

In general economists studying Ecuador have not focused on comparative work, although recent economic integration efforts may stimulate more. Ironically, the 1995 border war between Ecuador and Peru provided the impetus for a comparative economic history of the two countries (item bi 97002647). Although somewhat superficial, this symbolic book may lead to more work in this area.

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