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Natural resources and the extractive industries play a central role in the economy of developing countries and the lives of nearly half of the world’s population. The increasing demand for oil, gas, and mineral resources has led some countries to prioritize the extractive industries; yet, there is growing empirical evidence that in some cases governments have neglected other sectors of the economy, making them highly dependent and vulnerable to volatile commodity prices. Latin American countries face the challenge of changing their model of primary-export specialization and move away from their dependence on natural resource-intensive exports in order to avoid being vulnerable to commodity cycles. In this context, given the limited literature available on measuring the dependence on the extraction of oil, gas and minerals of the Ecuadorian economy, the objective of this article is to twofold. First, to provide a snapshot of the historical and current situation of Ecuador’s natural resource dependence. Second, to estimate the Extractives Dependence Index (EDI) scores for Ecuador for the years 2003 to 2017. The EDI is a generally accepted method for measuring a country’s aggregate dependence on natural and mineral resources. Based on the EDI scores obtained, we analyze the variation of this indicator and investigate the effect of extractives dependence on the Ecuadorian economy. Results show that despite the government’s significant efforts to diversify Ecuador’s economy, the country has a persistent dependence on the extractive sector.
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