Populism and Constitutional Reform in Latin America and the Caribbean

38 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2018

See all articles by Andrea Sáenz de Viteri

Andrea Sáenz de Viteri

University of Navarra - School of Economics

Christian Bjørnskov

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Center for Political Studies; Institute for Corruption Studies

Date Written: November 24, 2018

Abstract

While constitutions are supposed to be stable documents entrenching a set of rules of the political game, Latin American and Caribbean constitutional development has been characterized by frequent change and instability. We hypothesize that the Latin American tradition for populist governments and heads of state explains this tradition. Contrary to established parties and interests, populist tend to aim at securing the median vote and be supported by non-encompassing interests. They also depict themselves as outside the regular elite and oppose the regularly conduct of politics. It may therefore be in the particular interest of populists to change the constitution to suit their specific needs. Exploring the frequency and direction of constitutional reforms in 42 Latin America and Caribbean countries, we find evidence indicating that populists are more likely to amend the constitution to concentrate power.

Suggested Citation

Sáenz de Viteri Vázquez, Andrea and Bjørnskov, Christian, Populism and Constitutional Reform in Latin America and the Caribbean (November 24, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3290019 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3290019

Andrea Sáenz de Viteri Vázquez

University of Navarra - School of Economics ( email )

Universidad de Navarra
Campus Universitario
Pamplona, 31009
Spain

Christian Bjørnskov (Contact Author)

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business ( email )

Fuglesangs Allé 4
Aarhus V, DK-8210
Denmark

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

Center for Political Studies

Landgreven 3
Copenhagen K, DK-1301
Denmark

Institute for Corruption Studies

Stevenson Hall 425
Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

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