Venezuela is a textbook example of a resource-dependent country. Nevertheless, Venezuela currently combines an economy that is stagnant, despite high oil prices, with an increasingly authoritarian government. This paper argues that large oil rents that accrue to the state, together with a lack of formal and transparent mechanisms to facilitate citizen oversight, are a large part of the problem. By Francisco Monaldi, nonresident fellow for the Latin America Initiative; Pedro L. Rodriguez; and José R. Morales. Center for Global Development Working Paper #306, September 2012.