Student Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

B.A. with honors

Honors Designation


Program of Study

Political Science



First Advisor

Marcus A. Johnson, Jr.

Second Advisor

Till Weber

Third Advisor

Claudia Halbac


This paper attempts to establish a stronger linkage between neo-extractivism and social welfare states in contemporary Latin America using both a micro and macro perspective. By emphasizing the human capital aspect of the welfare state’s role in promoting equitable redistribution and correcting market failures, this paper attempts to evaluate the extent to which extractive industries contribute to human capital formation. Due to the sectors’ large influence on the state and weak capacity to create employment, I develop the concept of the “gilded welfare state,” defined by the inability of extractive industries to ensure equal opportunity and generate formal employment despite socioeconomic improvements. Using data from the ECLAC, World Bank, IMF, Varieties of Democracy, and Penn World Table databases, first differenced OLS models were conducted of Latin American countries to assess this claim in terms of natural resource rents and human capital expenditures. While neither analysis finds conclusive results, they do suggest that extractivism should still be considered as a key determinant when considering welfare state formation.


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