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Democracy, Populism and Hyperinflation[s]: Evidence from Latin America

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  • Bittencourt, Manoel

Abstract

We test for the populist view of inflation in Latin America between 1970 and 2007. The empirical results - based on the relatively novel panel time-series data and analysis - confirm the theoretical prediction that recently elected governments coming into power after periods of political dictatorship, and which are faced with high economic inequality, end up generating high inflation and macroeconomic instability. 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 (e.g. central bank independence and a credible and responsible fiscal authority), institutions which would raise the costs of pursuing populist policies in the first place.

Suggested Citation

  • Bittencourt, Manoel, 2010. "Democracy, Populism and Hyperinflation[s]: Evidence from Latin America," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Hannover 2010 47, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec10:47
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Aisen, Ari & Veiga, Francisco Jose, 2006. "Does Political Instability Lead to Higher Inflation? A Panel Data Analysis," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(5), pages 1379-1389, August.
    2. Francisco José Veiga, 2000. "Delays of Inflation Stabilizations," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(3), pages 275-295, November.
    3. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James & Thaicharoen, Yunyong, 2003. "Institutional causes, macroeconomic symptoms: volatility, crises and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 49-123, January.
    4. Manoel BITTENCOURT, 2009. "Macroeconomic Performance And Inequality: Brazil, 1983-94," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 47(1), pages 30-52.
    5. Im, Kyung So & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Shin, Yongcheol, 2003. "Testing for unit roots in heterogeneous panels," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 53-74, July.
    6. Pushan Dutt & Devashish Mitra, 2008. "Inequality and the Instability of Polity and Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(531), pages 1285-1314, August.
    7. Beetsma, Roel M W J & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 1996. "Does Inequality Cause Inflation?: The Political Economy of Inflation, Taxation and Government Debt," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 87(1-2), pages 143-162, April.
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    9. Desai, Raj M. & Olofsgard, Anders & Yousef, Tarik M., 2005. "Inflation and inequality: does political structure matter?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 41-46, April.
    10. Dornbusch, Rudiger & Edwards, Sebastian, 1990. "Macroeconomic populism," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 247-277, April.
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    12. Levin, Andrew & Lin, Chien-Fu & James Chu, Chia-Shang, 2002. "Unit root tests in panel data: asymptotic and finite-sample properties," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 1-24, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Polarisation; populism; hyperinflation; Latin America.;

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • N16 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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