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The process of democratization in Latin America

Abstract

During the 1980s, Latin America experienced the longest and deepest wave of democratization in its history. The origins of this process of transformation are to be found in the interaction between domestic and international forces. At the international level, the key events were the oil shocks of the 1970s, the related expansion of international lending, and the subsequent debt crisis. The speed and extent to which these changes were translated into democratization were conditioned by the political alignments of the private sector and structural fragilities of authoritarianism at the national level. The persistence of the democratization trend through time reflects the importance of other factors, including global political change, the receding threat of the revolutionary left, the internationalization of capital markets, constraints on domestic policy choice, and political learning, which have converged at the domestic level to reduce the incentives and opportunities for authoritarian reversals.

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Additional information

Karen L. Remmer is professor and chair of political science at the University of New Mexico and associate editor of theLatin American Research Review. She is the author ofMilitary Rule in Latin America (1989) as well as a series of recent articles exploring the relationship between political democracy and economic performance in Latin America.

Adapted from “Democratization in Latin America,” inGlobal Transformation and the Third World, edited by Robert O. Slater, Barry M. Schutz, and Steven R. Dorr. Copyright © 1993 by Lynne Rienner Publishers. Reprinted with permission of the publisher.

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Remmer, K.L. The process of democratization in Latin America. Studies in Comparative International Development 27, 3–24 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02687137

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Keywords

  • International Monetary Fund
  • Comparative International Development
  • Democratic Institution
  • Military Regime
  • Authoritarian Rule