Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Gouveia

Second Advisor

Dr. Rousseau

Third Advisor

Dr. Tate


This thesis uses Venezuela as a case study to test the potential viability of the neo-structural perspective of economic development. The theoretical perspectives of structuralism, neo-liberalism and neo‐ structuralism are discussed and critiqued in their ability to provide for economic development. Analysis is made of the change of the Venezuelan model of development from an inward-oriented to an outward-oriented model. Venezuelan development is traced from the adoption to the eventual demise of the inward-oriented model. The evolution toward outward-orientation is discussed within the context of the global, regional and national forces that contributed to the demise of the inward-oriented model and debt crisis. The implementation of the neo-liberal/IMF adjustment model in February of 1989 is outlined and consideration is given to the early results of the adjustment program. As a result of domestic resistance to neo-liberal principles and the state's continued intervention and identification of structural goals, the emerging Venezuelan model is identified as neo-structural. The Venezuelan model is a synthesis of neo-liberal methods and structural perspectives. It is outward-oriented and its policies are based on the traditional IMF model, yet it identifies structuralist goals for its development program. The viability of the Venezuelan neo-structural model is evaluated in terms of its ability to fulfill its defined goals of: 1) sustained economic growth; 2) growth with equity; and 3) national self‐determination. Conclusions drawn from the Venezuelan case study indicate that the viability of the neo-structural model depends on finding the optimal balance of the state and market. The outlook for Venezuelan development under the neo-structural model is pessimistic, suggesting that neo-liberal market forces dominate the state’s ability to intervene to achieve structuralist goals. Conclusions, drawn from the Venezuelan case study, are discussed in light of their indications of the ability of a developing nation, through a neo-structural model, to set its own economic, social, and national priorities. General conclusions indicate that the global market increasingly dominates the developing nation-state's ability to achieve nationally defined goals.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Sociology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Tracy L. Beverly September, 1991

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."