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By Susan C. Stokes

Does it topic whilst politicians forget about the guarantees they made and the personal tastes in their parts? If politicians are looking to be reelected or see their occasion reelected on the finish in their time period, why may they impose unpopular regulations? Susan Stokes explores those questions via constructing a version of coverage switches after which checking out it with statistical and qualitative facts from Latin American elections during the last twenty years. She concludes that politicians may possibly switch regulations simply because unpopular regulations are most sensible for ingredients and accordingly will also most sensible serve their very own political goals.

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The Belaúnde government in 1984 quietly stopped making debt service payments to foreign banks. With the right discredited by poor economic performance, García’s main challenger was Alfonso Barrantes of the United Left coalition. The electoral campaign unfolded against a backdrop of growing economic instability and a bloody conflict between Shining Path insurgents and the Peruvian military. García pledged that an APRA government would only allow imports of basic foods and of manufactures that had no domestic competitors.

A second option is therefore more attractive: dissimulate in the campaign, switch once in office, and trust that citizens will judge his term as successful ex post even if they would have rejected his policies ex ante. The candidate facing this dilemma has a third option. He might use campaign messages to impart his information and beliefs to voters, hoping to persuade them that their policy instincts are wrong and that the currently unpopular course will actually turn out for the best. If voters don’t come around before this election, perhaps they will two or three elections 19 Mandates and Democracy from now.

Ernesto Lacalle of Uruguay (1989–1994) was another efficiency-oriented politician who came to power under conditions of relatively strong growth with high inflation. In the 1989 presidential campaign, Lacalle of the Blanco Party (more conservative than the Colorados) declared that a “free exchange rate, open economy, free and unrestricted flow of capital stocks and returns are aspects that we are going to keep until death and we are deepening them even more” (El Día, November 23, 1989). He also called for limits on the right to strike, a reduction in the ratio of state workers among the total workforce to 1 in 10, and a broad privatization of state-owned enterprises.

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