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Volume 59 / Social Sciences

ECONOMICS: BOLIVIA


JEFFREY R. FRANKS, Economist, International Monetary Fund


THE ECONOMIC LITERATURE ON BOLIVIA continues to be dominated on the macroeconomic side by analysis and critiques of the shock-treatment stabilization program applied in the mid-1980s, which eliminated hyperinflation and reversed the decline in economic activity. Works continue to appear that analyze the stabilization process from different perspectives (items #bi 99004736# and #bi 99004714#), along with studies examining the structural reforms implemented during the 1990s as a deepening of the neoliberal economic model. In particular, the "capitalization" (partial privatization) of state-owned firms and pension reforms undertaken during the presidency of Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada (1993–97) is the subject of a number of interesting studies (items #bi 99004725# and #bi 99004717#). Working papers on reforms in specific sectors produced by consultants for the UN Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) are among the more thoughtful analyses of these policies (items #bi 99004711#, #bi 99004709#, and #bi 99004712#).

The quality and quantity of studies on poverty in Bolivia in recent years have improved. Works by the now-defunct Social Policy Analysis Unit, UDAPSO, (item #bi 99004699#) and UN-funded Human Development Reports on different regions in Bolivia (items #bi 99004702# and #bi 99004701#) are particularly important. These works are based on large survey studies and include a wealth of data as well as intelligent interpretation.

Among the sectoral studies produced recently, particular attention has been paid to agriculture, reflecting its importance in the Bolivian economy in terms of employment and rural poverty (but not so much as a contribution to GDP, where agriculture is small). The agricultural sector has been the subject of a number of works (items #bi 99004718# and #bi 99004723#), although the quality is uneven.


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