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Democracy, populism and hyperinflation: some evidence from Latin America

  • Manoel Bittencourt

    ()

In this paper we test for the populist view of inflation in South America during the eventful period between 1970 and 2007, a period which captures the latest democratic transition in the continent, episodes of hyperinflation and finally macroeconomic stabilisation. The results—based on panel time-series data and analysis—confirm the prediction which suggests that recently elected governments coming into power after periods of political dictatorship, and which are faced with demand for redistribution, end up engaging in populist (or redistributive) policies, which tend to lead to high inflation and overall poor macroeconomic performance. All in all, we suggest that the implementation of democracy as such requires not only the “right political context”—or an appropriately constrained executive—to work well, but it also must come with certain economic institutions (central bank independence and a credible and responsible fiscal authority), institutions that were (coincidentally) absent in South America right after re-democratisation, but which would presumably raise the costs of pursuing populist policies in the first place. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10101-012-0117-7
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Economics of Governance.

Volume (Year): 13 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 311-332

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Handle: RePEc:spr:ecogov:v:13:y:2012:i:4:p:311-332
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