Comparative Politics Speaker Series


Thursday, March 9, 2017, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


CGIS Knafel Building, 1737 Cambridge Street, Bowie-Vernon Room (K262)

"Endogenous Participation: Prior Consultation in Extractive Economies"


Tulia Falleti, Class of 1965 Term Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Government, Harvard University. 


Jessie Bullock

Andrew Leber

Shannon Parker

Faculty Advisors:

Dan Smith, Faculty Associate. Assistant Professor, Department of Government, Harvard University.

Yuhua Wang, Assistant Professor, Department of Government, Harvard University.


Combining the insights of historical institutionalism and participatory democracy literatures, we propose an endogenous theory of participation to show that the institutional strength of participatory democratic innovations is dependent on the historic process of their creation and subsequent political incorporation of mobilized groups. To make our argument, we comparatively study prior consultation (or consulta previa) in Bolivia and Ecuador, from the early 1990s until the present. Prior consultation is the collective right of indigenous communities whose environment could be potentially affected by resource extraction or mega infrastructure projects to be consulted before projects begin. This institution is highly relevant in Latin America, particularly as countries in the region intensify the extraction of non-renewable resources. We show that different paths of political incorporation of indigenous movements have been consequential for the institutional strength of prior consultation. Moreover, our findings shed light on the tensions between participatory democracy and resource extraction in Latin America and have important implications for the study of participatory institutions worldwide. (Paper co-authored with Thea N. Riofrancos)