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THE DEBATE OVER THE FUTURE of Colombia's economy in the new context of globalization and trade liberalization has dominated published research within the field for the past five years. Transcending policy discussions about the costs and benefits of external sector reform in Colombia, recent studies, seminars, and publications focus their attention on the competitiveness and growth potential of different sectors (oil, mining, industry, and agriculture) and subsectors in the new economy. Among the works reviewed here, the comprehensive study coordinated by Chica for the National Planning Department is noteworthy (item #bi 98010252#).
Vélez's study on the effectiveness of public policy and its impact on income distribution and access to social services deserves special reference (item #bi 98010264#). Bonilla's work on gender equality, specifically female participation in higher education and the labor market, should also be read with interest (item #bi 98010257#).
Three new areas of research are receiving greater consideration. A growing acknowledgment of the importance of linkages among traditional institutions, policy-making processes, law enforcement, and social stability has resulted in a burgeoning area of research. Of particular interest are Rubio's analysis of transaction costs in Colombia (item #bi 98010255#), and the study of three decades of Colombian economic policy-making by García García and Jayasuriya for the World Bank (item #bi 98010285#). In the same spirit, it is important to underscore the attention that economists in Colombia are finally giving to the interconnected challenges of violence, crime, and political turmoil. The volume directed by the late Jesús Bejarano is a significant contribution to this emerging field (item #bi 00000103#). In addition, Steiner's account of the drug monies circuit and his comparative analysis of previous attempts to estimate the total drug-related income entering Colombia deserves mention (item #bi 98010268#). Thirdly, studies of the economic rationale for environmental policies, as well as economic approaches to environmental protection regulations and their repercussions, are appearing more frequently. Rodríguez Becerra, Uribe Botero, and Carrizosa offer an interesting evaluation of the economic methodologies guiding environmental management and review environmental policy decisions adopted in Colombia during the 1990s (item #bi 98010283#).