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Political Constraints and Public Support for Market Reform


  • Raj M. Desai

    (International Monetary Fund)

  • Anders Olofsgård

    (International Monetary Fund)


As concerns of "reform fatigue" in lower- and middle-income countries have become more widespread, so has the search for ways of boosting support for market-oriented reforms. Although the effects of political institutions on reform results have been extensively analyzed, there has been relatively little investigation of their effects on public opinion. We argue that constitutional and extra-constitutional reforms that place limits on the discretionary authority of public officials and enable voters to monitor, reward, and sanction politicians can enhance the legitimacy of market reforms. We present a voting model with asymmetric information to illustrate that these formal-legal reforms provide a credible signal of reformers' commitments. Using panel data based on public opinion barometers from Eastern Europe and Latin America, we examine the effects of political authority on public support for markets. We find that constraints on the power of the executive branch boost support for markets but that this effect declines as the reform process matures. Copyright 2006, International Monetary Fund

Suggested Citation

  • Raj M. Desai & Anders Olofsgård, 2006. "Political Constraints and Public Support for Market Reform," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 53(si), pages 1-5.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:imfstp:v::y:2006:i:si:p:5

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Grosfeld, Irena & Senik, Claudia, 2008. "The Emerging Aversion to Inequality. Evidence from Poland 1992-2005," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 0805, CEPREMAP.
    2. Pauline Grosjean & Frantisek Ricka & Claudia Senik, 2011. "Learning, Political Attitudes and the Crisis in Transition Countries," Discussion Papers 2011-16, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    3. Apolte, Thomas & Peters, Heiko, 2009. "Governance, Demokratie und wirtschaftliche Entwicklung in den ehemals sozialistischen Staaten," IÖB-Diskussionspapiere 1/09, University of Münster, Institute for Economic Education.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy


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