Political Institutions, Policymaking Processes, and Policy Outcomes in Venezuela

Jan 2006
This case study of Venezuela's democratic institution and policymaking processes is part of the broader regional project based on the theoretical framework developed by Spiller, Stein and Tommasi (2003). The framework focuses on the conditions that foster political cooperation among political actors to sustain inter-temporal policy commitments. The study shows that the political institutions that established Venezuela's democracy in the 1960s were deliberately set up to generate a cooperative equilibrium with low stakes of power, resulting in a relatively effective policymaking process and good policy outcomes. However, an oil boom unraveled the cooperative framework and induced rapid economic decay. The political reforms implemented in the late 1980s to improve the democratic process further weakened the party system and induced a highly uncooperative and volatile policymaking process. The recent political reforms, increasing the stakes of power, have stimulated a complete breakdown in cooperation and a highly polarized political system.