Date of Award

8-11-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Jennifer McCoy

Second Advisor

Charles Hankla

Third Advisor

Henry Carey

Abstract

There is a gap in the literature that does not explain the circumstances under which Latin American governments allow MNCs to expand and violate indigenous protection laws. I examine how the capacities of indigenous groups, economic autonomy, and pro-indigenous policies impact government decisions in regards to indigenous land rights. In recent years, indigenous rights are increasingly recognized in Latin America, but with the pressure for economic development to compete internationally, Latin American governments sometimes violate indigenous rights in order to attract multinational corporations. I hypothesize that high economic autonomy, pro-indigenous policies, and strong indigenous groups lead to a higher likelihood that governments will hold meaningful consultations. I compare case studies in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Brazil. The results demonstrate that there is a positive, causal relationship with economic autonomy and meaningful consultations. Research of this phenomenon is imperative to furthering our understanding about the conflict between economic development and indigenous rights.

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