Singer talk on Economic Perceptions & Govt. Support in Latin America (Audio)

This talk is over but you can still listen: MP3 (In the talk, Prof. Singer does make reference to tables in Powerpoint.)

Please join us for a talk by Prof. Matt Singer

“Campesinos o Banqueros? Economic Perceptions and Government Support in Latin America 1995-2009”

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
12 pm

This will be the final First Wednesday research seminar of the semester.

Voters who perceive the economy to be strong are generally more likely to support the incumbent. Yet the extant literature on voters in new democracies raises questions over whether voters can engage with the economy in the same level of sophistication as do voters in developed democracies. We pool survey data from 17 Latin American countries and develop a unique two-stage multi-level model to determine if voters are more interested in past economic outcomes or focus more on their expectations for the future and also if voters are more responsive to fluctuations in the national economy or in their personal economic circumstances. We find that citizens base their evaluations of the incumbent on the past more than on their future expectations at the end of the term while at the beginning neither is dominant. The national economy generally trumps personal economic fluctuations. These dynamics do not differ across levels of development or democratic experience. Finally, the economy’s overall effect is contingent upon political and economic factors that affect citizens’ ability to determine government control over economic policy and also the incentives people have to focus on economic performance. In general, then, Latin American citizens respond to the economy in a sophisticated and measured way as predicted by theories of political accountability developed in established democracies.

For information about the event, please contact stephen.dyson at

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