Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Nancy Neiman

Reader 2

Geoffrey Herrera

Rights Information

© 2023 Gillian T Bell


With the impacts of global climate change being felt across the world many countries are introducing environmental policies aimed at decreasing CO2 emissions. Chile, however, has lagged significantly behind the rest of the world in curtailing CO2 emissions through environmental policies. During the Pinochet military dictatorship Chile has become increasingly economically dependent on mining, exacerbating by recent rises in lithium demand. Chile now finds itself, despite years of protests and a newly elected leftist government, unable to restrict this mining and cut down on pollutant activities. Using a combination of institutionalist, path dependency and historical contingency theories, this essay aims to understand the origins for these apparently insurmountable barriers to effective environmental policies in Chile. Through this economic and political exploration of Chile’s history it becomes clear that the introduction of neoliberal economic policies under Pinochet administration, in power from 1973 to 1990, lead to permanent institutional changes in the Chilean government. Any attempts at change, short of a national reckoning that rebuilds Chile into a state able to prioritize its citizens wellbeing and erases the neoliberal legacy of the Pinochet administration, will continually fall short of these goals, and the needs of the Chilean citizens.

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