This dissertation examines the relationship between resource nationalism and energy integration, and uses Bolivia and Brazil as a test case. Essentially, does resource nationalism affect energy integration? The findings nest within more expansive questions on international political economy and export-driven models of development. Why do populist regimes, historically operating under an economic nationalist cum protectionist paradigm, simultaneously pursue policies of economic integration? What is the relationship between resource nationalists and open markets, especially in the hydrocarbons sector? What is the relationship between populists, who are typically resource nationalists, and their decision to choose policies of energy integration?
The most common responses to the above are that resource nationalists pursue protectionist policies in the hydrocarbon sector. This dissertation demonstrates that once in power, resource nationalists do not always pursue protectionist policies in the hydrocarbon sector, but instead rely on market forces. Another common response is that populists pursue policies of resource nationalism in the hydrocarbon sector. This dissertation demonstrates that populists do not always pursue policies of resource nationalism in the hydrocarbon sector, but instead choose policies of integration. Policies of integration are compelled by market forces, and at times ironically provide the foundation for resource nationalism to later flourish.
This dissertation develops a case-study of Bolivia and Brazil to assess the relationship between resource nationalism and energy integration. The case is selected based on each country having energy resources or derivative products for exploitation and use, an energy trade relationship between the countries, the presence of government-run natural resource firms in each country, and a specific period where resource nationalism is present. Bolivia and Brazil are important for this study because of their proximity, particularly where the supply of natural gas is concerned. Proximity is of great importance as natural gas infrastructure is concomitant with energy integration, particularly supply.