The Political Impact of Economic Crisis in Latin America in the 1980s


Journal Article

Research on the political implications of economic conditions is separated into two relatively distinct bodies of literature. I bridge the theoretical gap between them by examining the effects of economic crisis on electoral outcomes in Latin America from 1982 to 1990. An analysis of 21 competitive elections indicates that crisis conditions undermine support for incumbents and provoke high levels of electoral volatility but without necessarily fostering the growth of political extremism or the exhaustion of elite consensus associated with the breakdown of democracy. The results also suggest that the relationship between economic conditions and electoral instability is mediated by party system structure rather than democratic age. Paradoxically, the findings buttress prior research on electoral outcomes in the comparatively stable and homogeneous Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations while undercutting theoretical frameworks elaborated with specific reference to the breakdown and consolidation of Third World democracy. © 1991, American Political Science Association. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Remmer, KL

Published Date

  • January 1, 1991

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 85 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 777 - 800

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1537-5943

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0003-0554

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2307/1963850

Citation Source

  • Scopus