Working paper 79
Cynthia Sanborn, Tania Ramírez and Verónica Hurtado
This paper examines how economic and political factors have influenced mineral extraction, governance and development in Peru since the late 19th century. It argues that the legacies of the past have weighed heavily in contemporary mining governance, but also points to moments in which shifting political alliances and agency aimed to alter past legacies and introduce positive institutional change.
The authors identify three historical periods characterised by relatively stable arrangements for the distribution of power, each with implications for state-building and extractive governance. For the most recent period (post-2000), they discuss how the response of democratic governments to socio-environmental conflict has included the creation of institutions to redistribute mining rents, regulate environmental impacts and promote indigenous participation. However, they argue that political instability and fragmentation have inhibited the effectiveness and legitimacy of these institutions and of longer-term policymaking in general, which in turn helps explain Peru’s persistent reliance on natural resource extraction and the challenges to more inclusive and sustainable development.