The Department of Government
The Department of Government

International Relations Speaker Series- Tim Hellwig

Policy Regimes and Economic Accountability in Latin America

Fri, October 28, 2016 | BAT 5.108

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Abstract. The advent of neoliberalism in Latin America triggered strongly negative reactions. Citizens protested against and, in some cases, replaced neoliberal reformers with candidates who promised to increase the state’s economic role, while many scholars decried neoliberalism’s effects on democratic quality. In this study we examine the effect of policy regimes for managing the economy on accountability in Latin American democracies. We argue that by reducing the scope of government control in the economy, policy orientations embracing international trade, financial market liberalization, and privatization weaken political accountability. In contrast, by more explicitly attributing economic conditions to government actions, statist policy approaches galvanize ties between economic conditions and public evaluations of leaders. Analyses of quarterly data on new presidential approval, consumer sentiment, and policy orientations support this theoretical framework. Study results imply that neoliberalism reduces accountability, a key dimension of democratic quality, whereas statism enhances it.


Timothy Hellwig is Professor of Political Science at Indiana University.  He holds a BA from St. Cloud State University, an MA from American University, and a PhD from the University of Minnesota. He has been a researcher at the International Foundation for Election Systems, on the faculty at the University of Houston, and a visiting researcher at the Australian National University, Gothenburg University, and the University of Essex.  He previously served as Director of the Institute for European Studies in IU’s School of Global and International Studies. His interests are in comparative political economy, political behavior, European politics, public policy, and research methods. He is author of Globalization and Mass Politics: Retaining the Room to Maneuver (Cambridge University Press), and his work appears in several journals and book chapters, including the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics. He is currently working on three research projects: a book on electoral cleavages in western democracies after the Global Financial Crisis, a series of articles on the economic bases of executive approval around the world, and a book comparing the impact of globalization on domestic politics in Brazil, France, and the United States.   For more, see his website.


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