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Socio-Political Conflict and Economic Performance in Bolivia

  • Jose-Luis Evia
  • Roberto Laserna
  • Stergios Skaperdas

We examine how socio-political conflict in Bolivia has affected its economic performance since the 1970s. Such conflict includes strikes, demonstrations, road blockades, and conventional rent-seeking. Since conflict has costs, it diverts resources away from production, tends to reduce investment and could therefore reduce economic growth. We first review the characteristics of conflict in Bolivia using a unique data set. We then provide estimates of the direct costs of conflict and examine the relationship with economic performance using hypotheses derived from a simple model. In particular, we make a distinction between economic growth that is due to external factors – like changes in income due to movements in the terms of trade – and economic growth that is due to productive investment. Growth due to external factors tends to be positively related to conflict, whereas growth due to productive investment should be negatively related to conflict. Finally, we discuss how levels of conflict, economic performance, and governance might be related in Bolivia’s recent history.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2249.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2249
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  1. Gregory D. Hess, 2002. "The Economic Welfare Cost of Conflict: An Empirical Assessment," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-08, Claremont Colleges.
  2. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2006. "Institutions and the Resource Curse," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 1-20, 01.
  3. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2000. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2355, The World Bank.
  4. Alberto Abadie & Javier Gardeazabal, 2001. "The Economic Costs of Conflict: A Case-Control Study for the Basque Country," NBER Working Papers 8478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2004. "Institutions as the Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth," NBER Working Papers 10481, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Paul Collier & V. L. Elliott & Håvard Hegre & Anke Hoeffler & Marta Reynal-Querol & Nicholas Sambanis, 2003. "Breaking the Conflict Trap : Civil War and Development Policy," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13938.
  7. Alesina, Alberto, et al, 2003. " Fractionalization," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 155-94, June.
  8. Stergios Skaperdas & Constantinos Syropoulos, 2002. "Insecure Property and the Efficiency of Exchange," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 133-146, January.
  9. Skaperdas, Stergios, 1992. "Cooperation, Conflict, and Power in the Absence of Property Rights," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 720-39, September.
  10. Francisco M. Gonzalez, 2005. "Insecure Property and Technological Backwardness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 703-721, 07.
  11. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
  12. Garfinkel, Michelle R. & Skaperdas, Stergios, 2007. "Economics of Conflict: An Overview," Handbook of Defense Economics, Elsevier.
  13. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
  14. Lee, J. & Skaperdas, S., 1998. "Workshops or Barracks? Productive versus Enforcive Investment and Economic Performance," Papers 97-98-20, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  15. Jack Hirshleifer, 1989. "Conflict and rent-seeking success functions: Ratio vs. difference models of relative success," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 101-112, November.
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