While countries across Latin America adopted significant market reforms in the 1980s and 90s, the political effects varied widely depending on the political orientation of the government in power. “Bait-and-switch” reforms adopted by populist or leftist leaders created a legacy of electoral volatility that included the demise of historic conservative parties and the outflanking of traditional populist parties by more radical outsiders. By contrast, market reforms that were adopted by conservative leaders and opposed by a major leftist rival reinforced party systems and led to stable patterns of electoral competition.
Kenneth Roberts is a professor of Government at Cornell University, with a specialization in the political economy of Latin America. He is the author and editor of several books, including The Resurgence of the Latin American Left (Johns Hopkins University Press 2011).
- Forthcoming article from Roberts in Comparative Politics