Francisco Rodriguez

Rice Family Professor of the Practice of International and Public Affairs

What I do

My research focuses on understanding the relationship between political conflict and economic performance. I argue that economic collapses can result from the breakdown in institutions that manage political conflict. In highly polarized societies, political actors are more likely to adopt “scorched earth” policies that generate negative effects on the economy in their struggle for power, turning the economy into a political battleground.
I have also written extensively on economic growth, political economy, international economics and Latin American economics. My forthcoming book Scorched Earth: The Political Economy of Venezuela's Collapse, will be published in 2024.


Economic growth, sanctions, Political economy, international economics

Professional Biography

Rodríguez is a Venezuelan economist with decades of experience in public service, academia and the private sector. Prior to joining Korbel, he taught economics and public policy at the University of Maryland, Wesleyan University, and the University of Notre Dame. Rodríguez has held prominent positions in the public and private sector, including head of the Economic and Financial Advisory of the Venezuelan National Assembly (2000-2004), head of the Research Team of the United Nations’ Human Development Report Office (2008-2011) and chief Andean economist of Bank of America (2011-2016). He has been a visiting researcher at the International Monetary Fund and a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.


  • Ph.D., Economics, Harvard University, 1998