Domestication of International Norms for Sustainable Resource Governance: Elite Capture in Peru

Maria-Therese Gustafsson; Roger Merino; Martin Scurrah
DOI number
#Sustainability standards
#Latin America

In recent years, international actors have promoted international norms related to sustainable and inclusive resource governance. However, we know little about how such attempts are contested and adapted in domestic reform processes. Drawing on insights from norm diffusion and institutionalist theories, this article traces how first bilateral aid agencies and then OECD have influenced the institutionalisation of a contested land-use planning (LUP) reform in Peru from 1990 until 2017. Based on 145 interviews and written primary sources, we demonstrate that aid agencies have partially empowered policy coalitions (e.g., civil society and subnational actors) in favour of LUP, whereas OECD's interventions have favoured national elites opposed to LUP. In both cases, we argue that by failing to foresee the political resistance among economic actors and national elites, international actors have contributed to the weakening and elite capture of LUP. Hence, our analysis represents a case of weakly institutionalized norms. The findings extend the existing literature on extractive governance by providing a fine-grained analysis of the process in which national elites and societal coalitions domesticate the institutionalisation of international norms for sustainable and inclusive resource governance. Our findings have broader implications for debates about extractive governance as well as policy strategies for promoting institutional change in resource-rich middle-income countries.


Maria-Therese Gustafsson

Stockholm University

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