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Economic Policy for Building Peace: The Lessons of El Salvador

James K. Boyce, editor
ISBN: 978-1-55587-526-8
1996/359 pages/LC: 96-12269
“This detailed examination of the Salvadoran experience illuminates problems and potential solutions that are very likely to be relevant in countries as diverse as Bosnia, Guatemala, Rwanda and Cambodia and should be on the reading lost of all practitioners, policy-makers and policy analysts concerned with rebuilding war-torn societies.”—Nicole Ball, Disasters

“The analyses provide a comprehensive overview of the economic problems of post-conflict recovery in El Salvador.... the language is accessible, graphs and tables are largely self-explanatory, and there is not a single equation to baffle the mathematics non-specialist.”—Journal of Latin American Studies

“For generalists and specialists alike, Economic Policy for Building Peace is imperative reading.”—Necla Tschirgi, Canadian Journal of Development Studies

“Contrary to much of the conventional development literature.... The argument is made convincingly that a more equitable distribution of land, income, and wealth will enhance macroeconomic stability, restructuring of the economy, and long-term growth.”—Choice


Economic policy during a postwar adjustment toward peace confronts special challenges. Short-term policy must promote not only macroeconomic, but also political stabilization, mobilizing resources and political will for immediate needs such as the reintegration of excombatants into civil society and the strengthening of democratic institutions. Long-term policy must aim to achieve not only macroeconomic balance, but also equity, or balance in the distribution of income and wealth; balanced investment in human, natural, and physical capital; and democratization in the broad sense of a more balanced distribu­tion of power.

This volume, written by a team of distinguished scholars at the invitation of the United Nations Development Programme, analyzes the tensions between economic policy and peace building in El Salvador and draws lessons for postconflict transitions elsewhere.


James K. Boyce is professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts. His numerous publications include Cafe y Desarrollo Sostenible, The Philippines: The Political Economy of Growth and Impoverishment in the Marcos Era, and Agrarian Impasse in Bengal (winner of the 1990 Edgar Graham Book Prize).


  • Introduction—J. Boyce.
  • The Historical Backgound to the Conflict—C. Acevedo.
  • The War Economy of the 1980s—A. Segovia.
  • Macroeconomic Perfor­mance and Policies Since 1989—A. Segovia.
  • The Peace Accords and Postwar Reconstruction—EJ.. Wood.
  • Domestic Resource Mobilization—A. Segovia.
  • External Resource Mobilization—J.K. Boyce.
  • Distributional Implications of Macroeconomic Policy: Theory and Applications to El Salvador—M. Pastor and M.E. Conroy.
  • The Financial System: Opportunities and Risks—C. Danby.
  • Structural Adjustment, the Agricultural Sector, and the Peace Process—C. Acevedo.
  • Environmental Degradation and Development Options—D. Barry and H. Rosa.
  • Exports and the Consolidation of Peace—E. Paus.
  • Conclu­sions and Recommendations—J.K. Boyce.