Long Live Democracy: The Determinants of Political Instability in Latin America

Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 76–95, January 2009

Posted: 23 Jul 2009

See all articles by Luisa R. Blanco

Luisa R. Blanco

Pepperdine University School of Public Policy

Robin M. Grier

University of Oklahoma - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 1, 2009

Abstract

We investigate the underlying causes of political instability in a panel of 18 Latin American countries from 1971–2000. We test whether regime type, regime durability, factionalism, income inequality, ethnic diversity, ethnic discrimination, regional spillover effects, urban growth and macroeconomic variables matter for instability. We find several important results: (1) democracy has a significant negative effect on instability that is robust to several alternative specifications; (2) factionalised political systems experience higher instability; (3) income inequality, ethnic fractionalisation, and urban growth have important nonlinear effects on instability; and (4) of the macroeconomic variables we study, only openness to trade has a significant negative effect on instability.

Keywords: Political Instability, Democracy, Latin America

JEL Classification: O10, O54

Suggested Citation

Blanco, Luisa R. and Grier, Robin M., Long Live Democracy: The Determinants of Political Instability in Latin America (January 1, 2009). Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 76–95, January 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1437719

Luisa R. Blanco (Contact Author)

Pepperdine University School of Public Policy ( email )

24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
United States

Robin M. Grier

University of Oklahoma - Department of Economics ( email )

729 Elm Avenue
325 Hester Hall
Norman, OK 73019-2103
United States
405 325-0581 (Phone)
405 325-5842 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/G/Kevin.B.Grier-1/

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