Socio-Environmental Conflicts and Institutions in Resource-Based Economies:The Case of Mining in Peru and Colombia

Quincy Stemmler, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany:

The academic debate on the “resource curse“ frequently presents social conflicts as one of many negative consequences of a resource-based development model. By contrast, critics argue that it is the institutional framework within a state that causes these problems. With this assumption as a starting point, I show in this paper how different institutional settings in structurally similar countries cause different types of conflicts using the examples of mining policies in Peru and Colombia. I argue that social conflicts in the context of resource extraction must be understood as multi-dimensional socio-environmental conflicts. I thereby criticize common approaches that perceive natural resources and rent-seeking behavior as given objectivities. I conclude that even though armed non-state actors impede the orderly function of Colombia’s institutions, these institutions provide more effective conflict management tools than those in neighboring Peru.

Download a pdf of the complete article here.