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From West to East: Bolivian Regional GDPs since the 1950s. A story of Natural Resources and Infrastructure


  • José A Peres-Cajías

    (Universitat de Barcelona)


This paper offers a general assessment of the economic activity in Bolivian regions thanks to an estimation, for the first time, of regional GDPs in Bolivia from 1950 onwards. The new quantitative evidence shows the economic upsurge and consolidation of new regions beyond the traditional economic zones, which were located to the west of the country since colonial times. This process is in stark contrast with most Latin American experiences, where economic activity has tended to be concentrated continuously in the same regions since the mid-19th century. This changing pattern is firstly explained by the availability of natural resources endowments. However, given the landlocked nature of the country, the vibrant set of ecological regions and the consequent relevance of transports costs, it is argued that natural resources may act as potent engines of regional economic growth only when a minimum network of public infrastructure is available.

Suggested Citation

  • José A Peres-Cajías, 2019. "From West to East: Bolivian Regional GDPs since the 1950s. A story of Natural Resources and Infrastructure," Working Papers 0169, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  • Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0169

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jose Luis Evia & Osvaldo Nina & Miguel Urquiola & Lykke Andersen & Eduardo Antelo, 1999. "Geography and Development in Bolivia: Migration, Urban and Industrial Concentration, Welfare, and Convergence: 1950-1992," Research Department Publications 3085, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
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    More about this item


    Natural Resources; Regional convergence; Regional inequality; Landlockness; Bolivia;

    JEL classification:

    • N16 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • N56 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • N96 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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