Economic Voting in Latin America: Rules and Responsibility

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American Journal of Political Science

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The impact of institutions on the economic vote stands as a well-established proposition for the advanceddemocracies of Europe. We know less, however, regarding the institutional effects on the economic vote in the developingdemocracies of Latin America. Carrying out an analysis of presidential elections in 18 Latin American countries, weoffer evidence that the usual Eurocentric conceptualization of the clarity of responsibility is not ideal for understandingthe economic vote in this region. There does exist a powerful effect of institutions on the economic vote within LatinAmerican democracies, but one uniquely associated with its presidential regimes and dynamic party systems. Rules for theseelections—such as concurrence, term limits, and second-round voting—suggest that we should reconceptualize the notionof the clarity of responsibility in Latin America, focusing more on individuals in power and their constraints, and less onthe political parties from which they hail.


University of Iowa



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