The Dependent Variable
Chapter 2 conducts a systematic and comprehensive analysis of the left’s economic policies in Latin America. By way of defining the dependent variable of the study, this chapter first breaks down reforms into five main areas: privatizations/nationalizations; government spending; taxation; trade, financial, and monetary liberalization; and poverty alleviation. Second, it classifies countries based on the degree to which they carried out statist or pro-market policies. Third, it assesses the state of economic reforms in the region. Focusing on ten countries—eight governed by the left and two by the right as controls—Chapter 2 finds that, although remaining within the margins of a market economy, leftist governments were more likely to depart from market orthodoxy than their right-of-center counterparts, but that there is considerable variation among leftist governments’ policies. It also finds that nationalizations, taxation, and trade, financial, and monetary liberalization were the areas that experienced the most intervention in the economy.
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