Local Development Policy for Santa Barbara de Tapirin (A)

Case Solution

Josefina F. Bruni-Celli
CLADEA-BALAS Case Consortium ()

It is May 2007 and José Rodríguez has just won the elections as mayor of Santa Bárbara de Tapirin, a small town in an oil field in the Middle East of Venezuela. Santa Bárbara de Tapir’n is the capital of a sparsely populated community with abundant tax revenues, mainly from national government remittances to communities in the oil fields. Still, the city is a quiet and isolated place with low economic activity, high unemployment, and unreliable public services with incomplete coverage. Still, in recent years, many low-income immigrants have come to the city, lured by the oil industry, which is (illegally) taking over land on the outskirts of Santa Barbara. José Rodríguez wants to turn the city around, get it out of its economic stagnation and take it on a path towards greater prosperity and development. To this end, he asked a team of advisers to better understand the causes of the Santa Barbara stagnation and come up with effective solutions. This case describes a complex scenario in which students can examine the problems of a city from the perspective of a mayor using standard techniques of public policy analysis. It also provides information that can be used in social investment project trials.

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