On Latin American Populism, And Its Echoes Around the World
NBER Working Paper No. 26333
In this paper I discuss the ways in which populist experiments have evolved historically. Populists are charismatic leaders that use a fiery rhetoric to pitch the interests of “the people” against those of banks, large firms, multinational companies, the IMF, and immigrants. Populists implement redistributive policies that violate the basic laws of economics, and in particular budget constraints. Most populist experiments go through five distinct phases that span from euphoria to collapse. Historically, the vast majority of populist episodes end up with declines in national income. When everything is over, incomes of the poor and middle class tend to be lower than when the experiment was launched. I argue that many of the characteristics of traditional Latin American populism are present in more recent manifestations from around the globe.
You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26333