Between Market and State: National Energy Policy in Latin America

At the beginning of the 1980s, governments controlled the energy sector in all the major Latin American countries. Over the next two decades, however, the combination of low energy prices and a lack of state capital to support exploration and production by national oil companies’ (NOCs) forced energy policy reforms in every country. These took the form of market-oriented policies emphasizing privatization, liberalization and fiscal discipline, known as the Washington Consensus. While the consensus prevailed, hydrocarbon rents went overwhelmingly to private firms, and the promised benefits of economic reforms turned out to be short-lived, if they materialized at all; the […]

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