Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


A central axiom of political science research holds that government stability is a key determinant of effective governance. Instability makes policymaking difficult and creates an environment that is inhospitable to foreign or domestic economic investment and, in turn, economic growth. Latin America provides an excellent context in which this relationship can be examined. The region was known for its political instability in the 1970s and 1980s, and the vast majority of countries implemented liberal economic reforms during the 1990s. The expectation was that these reforms would yield the economic growth so desperately needed in the region and, along with democratic reform, provide for the stability that prevails in other market-based democracies. The present study demonstrates, however, that liberal economic reforms do not necessarily lead to system stability, but instead require a concerted government effort to cushion the negative impact of these reforms and integrate society with their newly-restructured domestic economy.