El 13 y 14 de mayo se llevará a cabo en la Universidad Tulane en New Orleans la reunión anual REPAL Red para el Estudio de la Economía Política de América Latina.

El profesor José Carlos Orihuela participará con el Paper Which Institutions Matter? The Remediation of Mining Legacy Pollution in Peru el día 14 de mayo.


State wisdom, bureaucratic autonomy and policy habits are more important than formal rules in Peru’s environmental remediation of mining. Academic debates on institutional change tend to focus on the rise of formal rules or formal institutional arrangements, not giving the same attention to the practical consequences of such modifications. However, formal rules without enforcement capacity do not become proper “institutions”, i.e. shapers of human behavior. Moreover, formal rules are largely subject to interpretation by “referees” and “players”, to draw on the influential metaphor by Douglass C. North. Where referees called to apply rules lack of autonomy and players are not equally powerful, such as in the context of extractive industries in a periphery’s periphery, “enforcement gaps” are to be expected. In our study of environmental institutions for the remediation of mining in Peru, we find that: (i) formal rules are essentially “paper institutions”, because (ii) the institution that really matters is the economy-goes-first wisdom guiding state action, (iii) law making does not bring on its own corresponding green state formation, and (iv) rooted state habits constrain environmental rules execution. The cases of Pasco and Cajamarca in Peru show a crude form of market-driven remediation of mining legacy pollution, in which environmental rules enforcement depends on mining investment attraction rationale and piecemeal responses to local contestation.