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Development Strategy of the MAS in Bolivia: Characterization and an Early Assessment


  • Ricardo Molero Simarro,

    1. is a researcher at the Departamento de Economía Aplicada I of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain and Professor at the Instituto de Altos Estudios Universitarios, Spain. Ricardo is co-author and co-editor of two books on development problems in Latin America, and has published articles and working papers in different international journals and research institutions.
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  • María José Paz Antolín

    1. (corresponding author) is currently Professor of Economics at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain (e-mail: She has coordinated and participated in research projects in the fields of international economics and development. Maria José's work has been published in various international journals; she has also (co-)authored three books and many book chapters and working papers.
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An earlier version of this paper was presented at the International Workshop of  the Development Research and Training Institute (EADI) , ‘The World System and the Left Turn in Latin America’ organized by the working groups ‘Transformations in the World System – Comparative Studies of Development’ and ‘Europe and Latin America’, hosted by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (6–7 October, 2010). We acknowledge the comments of the participants of that event and of the referees of Development and Change. Any errors are our own.


The aim of this article is to describe and evaluate the development strategy launched by the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) in Bolivia when it came to power in 2006. The origin of this strategy can be found in the desire to tackle the economic and political transformations caused by the structural adjustment programme launched in 1985. The main economic measures taken by MAS are analysed in the context of the new development plans implemented in Latin America. This allows us to focus on the results achieved in Bolivia in two areas of major importance in the MAS strategy: productive transformation and income distribution. It is argued that, despite the progress achieved, the government of Evo Morales has so far been unable to alter the primary export model and the associated distribution pattern that have characterized the Bolivian economy.