Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


International Studies (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Laura Gomez-Mera

Second Committee Member

Bruce M. Bagley

Third Committee Member

Roger E. Kanet

Fourth Committee Member

Lilian Yaffe


This dissertation evaluates and compares social and environmental records of Chinese national oil companies (NOCs) operating in Latin America from the early 21st century to 2015. Five countries representing the entirety of Chinese NOCs’ physical presence are selected: Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia, and Venezuela. The project discovers that Chinese NOCs demonstrate the highest level of social responsibility in Peru and the lowest in Venezuela, with the other three countries constituting intermediate observations. The differences in social responsibility records are then causally traced to variances in the host countries’ regulatory frameworks and civil society capacities. Chinese NOCs are found to be most willing to commit to social responsibility under an enabling regulatory environment in which the host government facilitates competitiveness and decentralization in its hydrocarbons industry while upholding inclusive policies regarding its civil society. Moreover, these NOCs are most likely to follow through on their CSR commitments when faced with a unified and collaborative civil society. These major findings yield important policy lessons for both the host government and the civil society in developing countries with abundance in energy resources.


Corporate Social Responsibility; Oil Industry; China-Latin American Relations; Sustainability