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Rewarding Merit or Luck? Electoral Accountability in Comparative Perspectiv...

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UCL Institute of the Americas

51 Gordon Square

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WC1H 0PN

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Dr. Daniela Campello and Dr. Cesar Zucco Jr (both FGV/EBAPE) - Can voting based on economic performance hold governments accountable? In this paper, we argue that when alternative sources of information about the competence of incumbent governments are not available, it may be rational for citizens to cast an economic vote even if the economy is mostly determined by exogenous factors. This vote, however, is unlikely to promote democratic accountability. We then show this is precisely what happens in most developing countries, where exogenous shocks are far more relevant to explain economic outcomes than in developed ones. As a result, by sanctioning and selecting incumbents based on the economy citizens are more likely to reward merit in developed nations, but luck elsewhere. Our findings suggest that the economic vote is a poor instrument of democratic accountability in developing countries.

Daniela Campello is an Associate Professor at FGV/EBAPE. She was formerly an Assistant Professor at Princeton University. She conducts research on international and comparative political economy, with a particular focus on the consequences of economic internationalization to domestic politics and democracy in emerging economies. She is the author of “The Politics of Market Discipline in Latin America: Globalization and Democracy,” published in 2015 by Cambridge University Press, and she is currently working on a second book project co-authored with Cesar Zucco Jr. (FGV/EBAPE) on economic voting and democratic accountability in Latin America.

Cesar Zucco Jr is an Associate Professor at FGV/EBAPE and he is currently a non-stipendiary visitor to Nuffield College. He has previously been an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University, and held visiting appointments at Princeton, Yale, and IUPERJ (currently IESP). He specializes in Latin American politics, and has written on executive-legislative relations, political parties, electoral politics, social policy, voting behaviour, and on the measurement and meaning of ideology. He is currently working on a second book project co-authored with Daniela Campello (FGV/EBAPE) on economic voting and democratic accountability in Latin America.

This event is part of the Latin American Political Economy Seminar series, convened by Dr. Néstor Castañeda, Assistant Professor of Latin American Political Economy at UCL Institute of the Americas.

Attendance to this event is free of charge but registration is required. IMPORTANT NOTE ON ACCESS TO 51 GORDON SQUARE: in order to ensure a smooth delivery of the lecture and for ease of logistics, access to the building may be restricted after the start of the event. We will endeavour to accommodate late arrivals within reason, but an early arrival is recommended to avoid disappointment. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

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UCL Institute of the Americas

51 Gordon Square

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WC1H 0PN

United Kingdom

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