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Volume 65 / Social Sciences

ECONOMICS: CENTRAL AMERICA


LUIS RENÉ CÁCERES, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC

ALL THE STUDIES WITHIN THE GENERAL SECTION cover topics related to economic integration. Cáceres (item #bi2009001804#) presents an exhaustive balance of progress and constraints in the Central American economic integration program, emphasizing the institutional weaknesses that have blocked further progress. This author also provides an in-depth analysis of the economic interdependence between El Salvador and Guatemala, and concludes that their economies are so interlocked they should be considered a single economy (item #bi2009001850#). The role of institutions in promoting economic integration is discussed by Cáceres (item #bi2009001849#) who introduces the concept of the institutional multiplier of economic growth which results from improvements in institutions. He shows that this effect is as important as the multiplier resulting from autonomous expenditures. A final paper in this section presents an evaluation of the impacts of DR-CAFTA on each of the member countries' economies (item #bi2008004045#).

Poverty is a topic that is present in the literature on several countries. In Costa Rica, Herrero et al. (item #bi2008004032#) analyze the causes for the persistence of poverty, while Slon and Zúñiga (item #bi2008002856#) describe the dynamics of poverty, finding that education is a strong anchor to prevent falling into poverty. In the case of El Salvador, Skipper (item #bi2009001826#) analyzes the role of education in the determination of poverty and in promoting economic growth, while in Honduras, Fuentes (item #bi2008003472#), describes the contributions of remittances to poverty reduction.

Migration is another topic that occupies an important place in this volume. In El Salvador, Cáceres (items #bi2009001848# and #bi2009002372#) and Cáceres and Saca (item #bi2009001847#) discuss the macroeconomic impacts of remittances; Andrade-Eekhoff (item #bi2008004041#) presents a broad description of migrants and the geographical destination of remittances, while Márquez, Cuéllar, and Guevara (item #bi2008001335#) discuss the effects of remittances on the expansion of the services sector in El Salvador, a theme also discussed by Montesinos Castro (item #bi2008001334#). For Panama, Sánchez Saavedra presents the case of internal migration among the peoples of the Darien (item #bi2009001827#).

Studies on the geographical aspects of development are included in this volume. In El Salvador, Argueta (item #bi2008001458#) discusses the benefits of adopting the property tax and the implications on decentralization, while Quiteño and Vega (item #bi2008001457#) review the regional planning efforts undertaken in the last 10 years. The changing landscape in Panama in response to trade and investment is discussed by Castillero Calvo (item #bi2007000335#).

Topics on agricultural development are presented in several countries. Fernández Alvarado and Granados Carvajal (item #bi2008004044#) analyze the changes that took place in Costa Rica's agricultural sector and in its institutions resulting from the structural reforms undertaken since the 1980s, while Faure and Samper (item #bi2008002826#) discuss the effects of import liberalization on agriculture. The repercussions from DR-CAFTA on agriculture in Honduras and Nicaragua are analyzed by Suazo (item #bi2008003475#) and Acevedo and Vogl (item #bi2008004047#), respectively. The effects of land tenure on agricultural production in Nicaragua are discussed by Bainville (item #bi2008002828#) and Bandiera (item #bi2009000673#).

There are four noteworthy labor market studies: Martínez (item #bi2007005128#) studies the incidence of gender discrimination in the labor market and its repercussions on economic growth in El Salvador; Fuentes Garcia (item #bi2007000340#) analyzes racial discrimination in Guatemala's labor market; Evangelos (item #bi2009000669#) looks at determination of wages in Panama; and Van der Laat Echeverría (item #bi2008002220#) analyzes the repercussion of DR-CAFTA on Costa Rica's labor market regulations.

Uca's Departamento de Economía study covers the themes of national economies and short-term economic perspectives in El Salvador (item #bi2008001333#).

In contrast to previous volumes, there are few studies on micro enterprises, the industrial sector and on tourism. Reference can be made to Suriol's (item #bi2008003476#) diagnostic of the petroleum sector in Honduras; Luoto, McIntosh, and Wydick's (item #bi2008002252#) study of the effects of a credit information system in Guatemala; Bilbao Ercoreca's (item #bi2008004046#) study of maquila established in a rural area of Nicaragua; and Schloegel's (item #bi2009000664#) analysis of sustainable tourism in Panama. Two energy studies are present in this volume: Lara López's (item #bi2008004040#) quantification of the benefits resulting from the privatization of the electric utilities in El Salvador and Zelaya Aguilar's (item #bi2007000270#) analysis of the potential benefits of increasing hydropower generation in Honduras.


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