Pakistan Institute of Development Economics

PDR

THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW 

Mahmood Ali Ayub and Hideo Hashimoto. The Economics of Tin Mining in Bolivia. Washington, D.C.: World Bank 1985.
Author: John Hillman

The Bolivian economy is a textbook case of the distortions produced by an enclave of mineral production, mainly tin, and its political life has largely focused on the problem of ensuring that the mining industry plays a constructive role in national economic development. Bolivia was not able to force the private owners of the major mines to make such a contribution and as a result their properties were nationalized in the Revolution of 1952, and have since been operated by a State owned corporation, COMIBOL. Although the mines had long been starved of fresh investment, the political economy of the Revolution further stripped resources from the mining sector in order to diversify the economy, and the economic crisis that was then generated forced serious attention on the technical operation of the industry. Over the past thirty years there have been several attempts to rehabilitate the nationalized mining industry, drawing on the expertise of foreign technical staff, and on foreign private and public capital which have generated a large number of studies and much internal political controversy. This book by two World Bank economists is the first attempt to provide a comprehensive account of the issues facing those responsible for formulating a policy for Bolivian mining which is based on some reliable statistics. It is theoretically and historically informed, and, most importantly, though sensitive to the intensely political nature of the problem, has no political axe of its own to grind.

John Hillman

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