Democracy in Latin America: Colombia and Venezuela

By Donald L. Herman | Go to book overview

4
Post-War and Post -- National Front Economic Development of Colombia

R. Albert Berry and Francisco E. Thoumi

The impressive continuity of the main features of Colombia's political system during the post-World War II period (and longer) provides a fascinating test of the implications of its brand of democracy for the process of economic development. No other country in South America has had as little interruption (five years) of at least formally democratic procedures over the last forty years. No other country has had as many deaths broadly attributable to political conflict, these being concentrated in the period of La Violencia beginning in the late 1940s, though this rural violence had surprisingly little impact on the economy.

This chapter reviews the major economic events, trends, and policies of this period, with special emphasis on the decade since the end of the National Front period in 1974. It also provides some comparisons with other Latin American countries and some speculation on the relationships between the political system and economic policies and trends.


POST-WAR ECONOMIC GROWTH AND CHANGE, FROM 1945 TO 1985

Colombia's growth performance from 1945 to 1985 has been about average both for Latin American and for developing countries in general. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual average of 4.8 percent or 525 percent for the period as a whole; per capita output rose by an average of 2.1 percent per year or 125 percent for the period. Population growth accelerated to a peak of about 3 percent per year by the early 1960s, then fell to its present level of

The opinions expressed in this chapter do not represent policies or positions of the Inter-American Development Bank.

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