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Reading: The Policy and Institutional Effects of Contentious Politics in Costa Rica’s Energy Sector

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The Policy and Institutional Effects of Contentious Politics in Costa Rica’s Energy Sector

Author:

Ludovico Feoli

Tulane University USA, US
About Ludovico

Ludovico Feoli <lfeolid@tulane.edu> is the Executive Director of the Centre for Inter-American Policy and Research at Tulane University and a Research Professor in the department of political science and the Stone Centre for Latin American Studies.

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Abstract

Costa Rica has championed a state-led electricity model premised on hydroelectric power. This has enabled the country to produce a reliable energy supply with universal coverage, that is renewable and low-carbon. However, in recent years the state company, ICE, has seen its autonomy and predominance diminish and its megaproject-dependent model questioned. Social movements contributed to the enthronement of ICE as an agent of national development and a source of energy sovereignty but have also mobilized at various points to check its power. This paper examines how structural factors and domestic and international economic constraints have altered the relative power of these actors to translate their preferences into policy and institutional effects in the Costa Rican electricity sector.

Resumen: Los efectos de la política constestataria sobre políticas e instituciones del sector energético en Costa Rica

Costa Rica ha defendido un modelo energético liderado por el estado y basado en la hidroelectricidad. Esto le ha permitido universalizar la oferta y suplir sus necesidades eléctricas de una fuente confiable, renovable, y baja en carbono. No obstante, en años recientes, la compañía eléctrica estatal, ICE, ha perdido parte de su autonomía y predominancia, y su modelo basado en megaproyectos ha sido cuestionado. Los movimientos sociales contribuyeron a entronizar al ICE como adalid del desarrollo nacional y fuente de soberanía energética, pero también se han movilizado en varios momentos para limitar su poder. El presente trabajo examina cómo factores estructurales y limitantes económicas nacionales e internacionales alteraron el poder relativo de estos actores para influir con sus preferencias las instituciones y políticas públicas del sector eléctrico costarricense.

 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32992/erlacs.10384
How to Cite: Feoli, L. (2018). The Policy and Institutional Effects of Contentious Politics in Costa Rica’s Energy Sector. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, (106), 77–104. DOI: http://doi.org/10.32992/erlacs.10384
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Published on 18 Dec 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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