Cuaderno de Trabajo N° 48: State responses to the gold rush in the Andes (2004-2018): the politics of state action (and inaction)

Viviana Baraybar, Eduardo Dargent

Despite many similarities, the gold rush that hit the Andean countries in 2004 elicited different state responses in Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. Initially there was a lack of enforcement towards illegal and informal mining, but eventually Colombia (2009) and later Peru (2011) enforced regulations, with mixed results. Bolivia, on the other hand, has not enforced such regulations. At first, this may appear a story of state capacity, with a more capable Colombia reacting quickly against illegal challengers, a weak Bolivia overwhelmed, and Peru falling somewhere in between. But a closer look uncovers different motivations behind these state actions (and inaction).