Entrepreneurship, knowledge and employment

Becoming a Pragmatic Technocrat: The Education of Colombian Economists in USA during the Cold War Period

Álvarez Andrés, Universidad de los Andes
Guiot Andrés , Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá
Hurtado Jimena , Universidad de los Andes

The experience of the so-called Currie Mission to Colombia demonstrated the need to form a technically qualified elite to make economic decisions in the country. In the era of the Cold War, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation gave a group of young economists the opportunity to pursue their graduate studies in the United States. Many of them returned to Colombia since the 1960s to strengthen the Planning Department and the National Council on Economic and Social Policy (CONPES). Using primary sources, this paper explores this stage of training of the Colombian technocracy to understand the role played by the influence of American Academia on the first generation of professional economists who had real influence in policy decision-making. We show the originality of the Colombian experience, generating a group of pragmatic policy makers that can be located at the center of the political spectrum endowed with high technical skills and the capacity to adapting to complex internal and external political situations without embracing a partisan political side.

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Keywords: Colombian economists, technocracy, cold war,

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