We use the synthetic control method to perform a case study of the impact of Hugo Chavez on the Venezuelan economy. We compare outcomes under Chavez’s leadership and polices against a counterfactual of “business as usual” in similar countries. We find that, relative to our control, per capita income fell dramatically. While poverty, health, and inequality outcomes all improved during the Chavez administration, these outcomes also improved in each of the corresponding control cases and thus we cannot attribute the improvements to Chavismo. We conclude that the overall economic consequences of the Chavez administration were bleak.

– Kevin Grier and Norman Maynard, abstract for “The economic consequences of Hugo Chavez: A synthetic control analysis"