Venezuela's corruption on the rise: fourteen years of Chávismo
Mercado, Frances V.
Looney, Robert J.
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This thesis seeks to answer two related questions regarding corruption and Chávismo. First, what factors contributed to the rise in Venezuela's Corruption Perception Index from 2000–2014? Second, what does Venezuela need to do to reverse that trend? The thesis examines Hugo Chávez's populist policies as well as two leading factors for the rise of corruption—weak governance and oil over-dependence practices—and analyzes the Resource Curse theory and Cháveznomics. Chávez's populist policies created neo-patrimonial networks, increasing the intensity of corrupt practices between specific sectors of citizens and political elites. Cháveznomics policies also created a mismanagement of windfall oil rents, establishing a Rentier State for Venezuela. The Rentier State established corrupt patronage networks with state industries that remained intact under the high oil prices during 2000–2014. The thesis also conducts theoretical analysis of anti-corruption methods while considering Venezuelan societal elements of culture, political will, and international integration. State-center anti-corruption strategies prove to be an appropriate method for Venezuela's societal elements and unique corruption environment. The proposed state-center strategies incorporate a three-prong anti-corruption approach, including political, economic, and social accountability reforms with market-friendly social democratic policies that build political will and civic engagement.
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