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On Latin American Populism, And Its Echoes Around the World

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  • Sebastian Edwards

Abstract

In this paper I discuss the ways in which populist experiments have evolved historically. Populists are charismatic leaders that use a fiery rhetoric to pitch the interests of “the people” against those of banks, large firms, multinational companies, the IMF, and immigrants. Populists implement redistributive policies that violate the basic laws of economics, and in particular budget constraints. Most populist experiments go through five distinct phases that span from euphoria to collapse. Historically, the vast majority of populist episodes end up with declines in national income. When everything is over, incomes of the poor and middle class tend to be lower than when the experiment was launched. I argue that many of the characteristics of traditional Latin American populism are present in more recent manifestations from around the globe.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Edwards, 2019. "On Latin American Populism, And Its Echoes Around the World," NBER Working Papers 26333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26333
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • N16 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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