Policy Regimes and Economic Accountability in Latin America

Comparative Political Studies

Timothy Hellwig, Ryan E. Carlin
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The shifts from state-led development to neoliberalism in Latin America have prompted debates on the quality of democracy. Although most discussions focus on responsiveness, we examine how economic policy regimes influence accountability. How do policy regimes affect citizens’ ability to hold executives to accounts? This ability, we argue, strengthens where policy regimes are more statist and weakens where policy regimes are more market oriented. Time-series analyses of policy orientations, economic conditions, and presidential approval in 17 countries support this proposition, whereas complementary analyses at the individual-level are consistent with claims that policy regimes influence accountability via a responsibility mechanism. Findings from this study imply that by embracing heterodox policy regimes, recent Latin American executives have improved accountability compared with the era in which the “Washington Consensus” held sway.


Ryan E. Carlin and Timothy Hellwig. 2019. “Policy Regimes and Economic Accountability in Latin America.” Comparative Political Studies 52(13-14): 2032-2060.