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The Impact of Neoliberal Economic Reforms on Latin Americans' Voting Behavior (1980-2004)

Queirolo, María del Rosario (2008) The Impact of Neoliberal Economic Reforms on Latin Americans' Voting Behavior (1980-2004). Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Are leftist parties the beneficiaries of the failure of market-oriented economic reforms in Latin America? This dissertation examines the impact that economic reforms implemented in Latin America during 1980s and 1990s had on the shift to the Left of many countries in the region. In particular, it seeks to answer three research questions: a) what particular features of market-oriented economic reforms, and what economic and political conditions, have benefited left- leaning parties' electoral performance? b) What are the determinants of Latin Americans' vote for left-oriented parties? And c) how does the linkage between the micro and macro level of analysis work? A combination of methodologies was used to answer these questions. First, a macro-level analysis was performed using data from 17 countries covering the period from 1985 to 2004. The dataset includes the percentage of votes received by leftist parties, the level of neoliberal reforms implemented in each country, economic variables which appraise economic well-being and political variables that account for the political context. Second, an individual-level analysis was carried out with survey data from Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay to answer the question about the factors that lead Latin American voters to choose a leftist party. This investigation leads to three main conclusions. First, more market reforms did not produce more votes for political parties on the left. More than neoliberal economic reforms, the key variable to understand the increase in the Left is unemployment. Left-leaning parties in Latin America do increase their electoral chances when unemployment is high. Second, Latin Americans are not voting Leftist parties because they are against neoliberal policies. The current shift to the Left is more a result of popular discontent with the economic situation than anything else. Finally, the electoral possibilities of success that leftist parties have by capitalizing on social discontent depend on the number of "untainted opposition" parties available in the political system. In countries like Brazil and Uruguay where leftist parties embody the only "untainted opposition," it was easier for them to capitalize on popular discontent than in Mexico, where a party on the right also represented an "untainted opposition."


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Queirolo, María del Rosariomdq4@pitt.eduMDQ4
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairAmes,
Committee CoChairSeligson, Mitchell A.mitchell.a.seligson@Vanderbilt.Edu
Committee MemberPérez-Liñán, Aníbalasp27@pitt.eduASP27
Committee MemberMarkoff, Johnjm2@pitt.eduJM2
Date: 3 November 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 11 December 2006
Approval Date: 3 November 2008
Submission Date: 6 June 2008
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Political Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Elections; Latin America; Neoliberal Reforms; Voting Behavior; Leftist parties; Public Opinion
Other ID:, etd-06062008-115243
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:46
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:44


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