A global proliferation of large dam construction since the 1950s has been accompanied by scientific research challenging the benefit of these projects while drawing attention to their numerous negative environmental and social impacts. The institutions that assess the costs and benefits associated with large dam proposals, creating policies either approving, altering, or disapproving them, collectively form what is known as a policymaking framework. Examining these frameworks allows observers to trace policies through outlined decision-making processes and can help to reveal inherent biases within those systems that may impact policy outcomes. Often, divergent policy outcomes, like the those observed in the cases of the Belo Monte dam in Brazil and HidroAysén dam in Chile, are a result of variations in the environmental policymaking frameworks of the deviating cases. The subjects of this study present similar arrangements of costs and benefits but resulted incongruous policy outcomes, specifically that the HidroAysén dam was not built while the Belo Monte dam is currently under construction. Existing bodies of literature outlining the environmental policymaking frameworks of Chile and Brazil fail to fully address the influence of external variables, including presidential influence, corruption, and electoral politics, on these cases. This project synthesizes an outline of the environmental policymaking frameworks of Chile and Brazil from existing literature and uses the divergent cases of the Belo Monte and HidroAysén dams to provide evidence for the incorporation of these external variables to better understand the incongruous policy outcomes these frameworks produce.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair

Wilson, Bruce M.


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Sciences


Political Science

Degree Program

International and Global Studies


Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access