Bolivia’s Process of Change at Twelve


Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


CGIS South, S250, 1730 Cambridge Street

Speaker: Martin Liby Troein, PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science, MIT

Moderator: Steven Levitsky, Professor of Government, Harvard University 

Morales ascended the presidency in 2006 on promises of far-going change. In office since then, he has largely delivered: Writing a new constitution, nationalizing the hydrocarbons sector, and providing greater political and economic inclusion for Bolivia’s indigenous majority. But in contrast to counterparts in Venezuela and Ecuador, with which the Morales administration shared the “populist” or “radical” descriptor during the Latin American left wave, Bolivia’s president pursued change with a distinct degree of moderation. Throughout the commodity boom, the Bolivian government produced large fiscal surpluses, while largely refraining from direct attacks on the media and electoral shenanigans. Morales has also been able to successfully sustain his project the longest, with growth rates remaining above 4 percent, strengthening his claim on another term in 2019.

This talk will discuss the reasons for the relative moderation of Bolivia’s “process of change” as well as its future prospects now that both the commodity boom and the region’s left turn have ended.

Martin Liby Troein is a PhD candidate in comparative politics and international relations, whose research interests center on the political economy of development. His dissertation examines how beliefs and ideas shaped in response to past crises influenced left government economic policymaking in Latin America during the recent commodity boom (2003-2013). Martin holds an A.B in Social Studies from Harvard University and an MRes in Political Science from the London School of Economics. His dissertation project is titled “Political Learning and Left Government in Latin America: Economic Policymaking during the Commodity Boom (2003-2013)” and is based on fieldwork in Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina.