Gustavo A. Flores-Macías, Statist vs. Pro-Market: Explaining Leftist Governments' Economic Policies in Latin America
Following the series of leftist victories in Latin America, scholars have focused on explaining how the left reached power but have overlooked the study of the left in government. Why have Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela adopted statist economic policies, while Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay have adhered to market orthodoxy? Three accounts—executive strength, drastic economic crises, and rentier state theory—are insufficient. Instead, differences in party system institutionalization best explain variation in economic policies. Institutionalized party systems make it more likely that leftist governments conduct piecemeal reforms, while inchoate party systems are conducive to significant economic transformations. This view is illustrated with cross-national evidence and case studies of Chile and Venezuela.
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