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Mandate and the Market: Policy Outcomes under the Left in Latin America

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Over the past fifteen years, Latin America has seen a wave of leftist governments take office with some leaders increasing the state's role in the economy, while others continue and even intensify market-oriented reforms. Building on the concept of mandates in the American politics literature, and supplemented by personal interviews conducted with Latin American policymakers and empirical work, I argue that whether leftist presidents implement policies away from the market depends on their margin of electoral victory combined with whether the president's party holds a majority of seats in the legislature. As much American politics work shows, presidents that win elections by landslides are better able to claim a mandate. However, the capacity of presidents to convert massive victories into policy change also requires control of the legislature by the president's party.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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