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OFFICIAL BOLIVIAN TRADE STATISTICS (1910-1949): LANDLOCKNESS AND THE LIMITS OF A STANDARD ACCURACY APPROACH*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 January 2018

José Alejandro Peres-Cajías
Affiliation:
Universidad Católica Boliviana “San Pablo”
Anna Carreras-Marín
Affiliation:
Universitat de Barcelona

Abstract

This paper aims to evaluate the accuracy of official Bolivian foreign trade statistics. Results show large discrepancies between Bolivian records and those of its main trade partners during the First World War. Whereas the gap decreased thereafter, it stayed particularly high in the case of exports. This seems to be explained by mistakes in the geographical assignment by the trade partners rather than by an overvaluation of official Bolivian figures. This suggests that landlockness may have had a significant negative effect on the accuracy of trade statistics from the, a priori, more reliable countries. The study also helps to revisit the debate concerning the effect that tin exploitation had on the rest of the Bolivian economy during the first half of the 20th century.

Resumen

Este artículo analiza la fiabilidad de las estadísticas bolivianas de comercio exterior. Se observan grandes diferencias entre los datos bolivianos y aquellos de sus principales socios comerciales durante la Primera Guerra Mundial. Si bien las brechas se redujeron posteriormente, permanecieron particularmente elevadas en el caso de las exportaciones. Ello parece deberse más a una mala asignación geográfica por parte de los socios comerciales que a una sobrevaloración de las exportaciones bolivianas. Esto sugiere que la mediterraneidad afectó negativamente la calidad de las estadísticas de aquellos países a-priori más confiables. El estudio permite también revisitar el debate en torno al efecto que tuvo la explotación del estaño sobre el resto de la economía boliviana durante la primera mitad del siglo XX.

Type
Articles/Artículos
Copyright
© Instituto Figuerola, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 2018 

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Footnotes

*

This research has benefited from financial support from the Science and Innovation Ministry of Spain through the project Market integration and its spatial impact: Latin American regions in the very long term (1890-2010) (ECO2015-65049-C2-2-P; MINECO/FEDER, UE). Peres-Cajías also thanks financial support from the Swedish Research Links/Vetenskapsrådet through the project Sustainable Development, Fiscal Policy and Natural Resources Management: Bolivia, Chile and Peru in the Nordic countries’ mirror (2016-05721). The authors thank Marc Badia, Cristián Ducoing and the participants of the present special volume for comments on previous drafts and for sharing data. Research assistance has been provided by Maira Dávalos, Adriana Sanjinés and Turfa Vargas. The usual disclaimer applies.

a

Escuela de la Producción y la Competitividad, Av 14 de Septiembre, esq. C 2, Bloque G, La Paz, Bolivia. jperes@mpd.ucb.edu.bo

b

Departament d’Història Económica, Institucions, Política i Economia Mundial, Av. Diagonal 690, Edifici Principal Torre 2, Planta 4, 08034 Barcelona, Spain. annacarrerasmarin@ub.edu

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