Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP)

Reader 1

William Ascher

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© 2016 Erin R Larsen


This thesis uses the historical relationship between Venezuela and petroleum to identify areas of resource rent waste mismanagement in the Venezuelan oil sector. Low oil prices are also more strongly bringing PDVSA’s mismanagement, corruption, and politicized agenda to light because of the high social cost of these inefficiencies. This thesis also explores industry-level best practices and applies them to the distinct case of PDVSA, with the objective of aiding Venezuela in navigating its way back to solid economic ground. The current economic and humanitarian crises in Venezuela elevate the need for conversations centered on reform options. This analysis concludes that the preferred policy option should be partial privatization because it is the most politically palatable option that also brings the most solvency to PDVSA’s inefficiencies. Partial privatization will allow Venezuela to reinsert itself into international financial markets and will open the country to desperately needed foreign investments. The elimination of market-distorting subsidies, the creation of a sovereign wealth fund, and the development of a regulatory structure that promotes transparency, accountability, and participation will also be critical.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.