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Anarchy, State, and Dystopia: Venezuelan Economic Institutions before the Advent of Oil

  • Francisco Rodríguez

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Wesleyan University)

  • Adam J. Gomolin

    ()

    (School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley)

This paper studies the evolution of Venezuelan economic institutions before the emergence of oil exploitation in 1920. We argue that by 1920 Venezuela had developed a highly centralized state and a professionalized military. These two institutions ensured that growing oil revenues would strengthen the state structure and protected Venezuela from the resource-conflict trap into which many oil-abundant countries have fallen. We also argue that the failure to develop institutions that could mediate between sectoral demands and the state, the subordination of property rights to political imperatives and the political dominance of the commercial-financial elite conditioned the nation’s response to the post-1920 influx of oil revenues.

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File URL: http://repec.wesleyan.edu/pdf/frrodriguez/2006018_rodriguez.pdf
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Paper provided by Wesleyan University, Department of Economics in its series Wesleyan Economics Working Papers with number 2006-018.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wes:weswpa:2006-018
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