Skypecast: Jonathan DiJohn Casts Doubt on the Resource Curse

Click here to listen to the interview.

In the second Skypecast in a series on Venezuela’s economic collapse, I interview Jonathan DiJohn. Dr. DiJohn is a lecturer in Political Economy and Development Studies at the University of London, and a former visiting researcher at IESA.

His explanation of Venezuela’s economic collapse presents a challenge to the conventional academic wisdom on the subject. Arguing that “resource curse” arguments that highlight the role of oil can’t account for Venezuela’s growth collapse, Dr. DiJohn focuses instead on the shift to a “Big Push”, heavy industry-led development strategy implemented in the 1970s – what we think of as La Gran Venezuela – and argues this type of import-substitution industrialization plan was incompatible with the country’s increasingly fragmented and populist political system. Oil, in general, plays a minor role in an explanation that highlights the mismatch between political system and economic strategy starting in 1973.

You can download an early draft of Dr. DiJohn’s paper in MS Word format here.

The 40-minute Skypecast is, once again, a non-technical review of his research that I hope will be understandable to non-specialists. I thought the interview was really interesting, but you tell me what you think: Click here to listen to the interview.

If you like what you hear, you’re in luck: Dr. DiJohn will publish a book on the history of Venezuela’s Development Strategy next year.