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Volume 59 / Social Sciences


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

THREE TYPES OF ORGANIZATIONS—universities, private research institutes, and the public sector—account for most of the economic research and publication in Ecuador. This chapter includes notable works from all three sectors. As a result of Ecuador's sagging economy in the late 1990s, funding for economic research and publication has decreased, thus severely limiting both the quantity and quality of publications on the economy. Illustrating the effect of the country's deteriorating economic performance, public expenditures on higher education fell from a high of 1.3 percent of GDP in 1982 to 0.2 percent in 1992.

The flagship university in Ecuador for economic research and publication is the Pontificia Universidad Católica (Quito). In addition to publishing numerous books on various economic topics, the Economics Department inaugurated the publication of the journal Laboratorio de Economía in 1997 (item #bi2001004136#).

In recent years, there has been a large growth in private universities, of which the Universidad de San Francisco (located outside of Quito) is a leading example. However, despite its well-funded economics department, it has yet to contribute significantly to economic research and publication.

For many years, the Quito campus of the Facultad Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), which offers a Masters degree program in economics, was a major center of economic research and publication. In recent years, however, the institute has experienced serious funding problems, leading to the suspension of its publishing program. Today, FLACSO is in the process of rebuilding its program. One notable publication is Incidencia distributiva del gasto público y funciones de demanda en el Ecuador (item #bi 00002491#).

Regarding private research institutes, the Corporación de Estudios Para el Desarrollo (CORDES) deserves mention. The mission of this independent institute, founded in 1984 by former President Osvaldo Hurtado and others, is to promote and undertake academic studies "about the fundamental problems that affect development in Ecuador and the Latin American countries in general." One section of CORDES, "Estudios y Docencia Económica," undertakes research in many areas and supports ongoing projects ranging from macroeconomic policy to, more recently, governability and corruption in Ecuador. CORDES publishes occasional books (for example, see item #bi2001004221#); a working paper series (Documentos de Trabajo); a biannual report on the Ecuadorian economy, Tendencias Económicas y Financieras (item #bi 00004052#), which also includes articles featuring research by Ecuadorian economists and others; and short reports on current economic trends, primarily oriented toward the business community.

Another prominent Ecuadorian research institute is the Instituto Latinoamericano de Investigaciones Sociales (ILDIS), which is funded by the German foundation Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. ILDIS has sponsored publications on economic topics for many years. Although it does publish economic analyses by individuals, the institute focuses on disseminating results of its own conferences and symposia (item #bi2001004220#).

In the public sector, The Central Bank of Ecuador is the most important center of research and publication on the country's economy (item #bi2001001452#). As is the case with most central banks, its publications tend to be more technical and focused on monetary policy. The Bank produces and publishes the excellent series of National Accounts, an unparalleled source of statistical information on the Ecuadorian economy. Within the Central Bank, the Dirección de Investigaciones Económicas publishes Cuestiones Económicas, Apuntes de Economía, and Notas Técnicas (for one example, see item #bi 98013503#), which are available on the Bank's web site, http://www.bce.fin.ec/.

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