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Social Conflict and Populist Policies in Latin America

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  • Jeffrey D. Sachs

Abstract

The central hypothesis of this paper is that high income inequality in Latin America contributes to intense political pressures for macroeconomic policies to raise the incomes of lower income groups, which in turn contributes to bad policy choices and weak economic performance. The paper looks in detail at one common type of policy failure: the populist policy cycle. This particular type of Latin American policymaking, characterized by overly expansionary macroeconomic policies which lead to high inflation and severe balance of payments crises, has been repeated so often, and with such common characteristics, that it plainly reveals the linkages from social conflict to poor economic performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1989. "Social Conflict and Populist Policies in Latin America," NBER Working Papers 2897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2897
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    1. McCallum, John, 1983. "Inflation and Social Consensus in the Seventies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(372), pages 784-805, December.
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