AbstractThis article analyses the impact at a local level of the changes that have been introduced within the framework of the Plan Nacional del Buen Vivir (National Plan for Good Living, PNBV) in Ecuador since 2007. It assesses the extent to which there has been real change in local administration and governance and, if so, the impact in areas such as economic development, innovation and quality of life. Fieldwork was carried out across three towns and cantons – Zaruma, Piñas and Portovelo – in the province of El Oro. Historically, these have been characterised by their dependence on the primary export model that the government of Rafael Correa has sought to move beyond. The progress and limitations of this process are assessed within the context of the National Plan for Good Living.