The political economy of poverty alleviation strategies. The initiative for heavily indebted poor countries in Bolivia: More of the same

Carolina Valencia, Florida International University


In the year 2000, approximately 1.1 billion people lived in extreme poverty while developed countries spent US$600 billion a year on defense. The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative is a recent component of a larger poverty reduction strategy supported by the International Financial Institutions, as well as many developed and developing countries. By implementing lessons of the past fifty years, this program attempts to diminish misery around the globe. As such, it provides debt relief while seeking to enable the poorest countries to simultaneously attain sustainable debt and promote human development.^ Interest in poverty reduction around the globe reemerged in the 1990s. This study contributes directly to this recent effort by presenting a nuanced approach that builds on the stepping-stones generated by other poverty scholars. To fulfill its goal, this investigation applies a political economy framework. Within this framework, the author conducts an actor-specific analysis.^ This dissertation addresses the following question: How do domestic and international actors respond to the implementation of poverty alleviation strategies? The author assumes actors desire to maximize their utility calculation and suggests these calculations are based on the player's motivations and external influences. Based on their motivations, the external influences, and the initiative's guidelines, each actor develops a set of expectations. To fulfill those expectations, stake holders utilize one or several strategies. Finally, the actors' ability to achieve their expectations determines each player's assessment of the initiative.^ The framework described is applied in an in-depth, actor-specific analysis of the HIPC in Bolivia. Bolivia's National Revolution represents the country's first attempt at reducing poverty. Since then, all governments have taken specific steps to combat poverty at the local and national levels. The Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) is one of the most recent macro strategies of this kind.^ The case study demonstrated that three factors (national ownership, effective sponsorship and the local context) determine the success levels of poverty reduction strategies from abroad. In addition, the investigation clearly shows that poverty reduction is not the sole motivation in the implementation of poverty alleviation strategies. All actors, however, share the dream of poverty reduction.^

Subject Area

Economics, General|Political Science, General

Recommended Citation

Valencia, Carolina, "The political economy of poverty alleviation strategies. The initiative for heavily indebted poor countries in Bolivia: More of the same" (2007). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3268666.