May 14, 2003

Notes: Grigore Pop-Eleches, "Refracting Conditionality: IMF Programs and Domestic Politics During the Latin American Debt Crisis and the Post-Communist Transition"

I have to read a political science dissertation tonight. It's very good...

Grigore Pop-Eleches (2003), "Refracting Conditionality: IMF Programs and Domestic Politics During the Latin American Debt Crisis and the Post-Communist Transition" (Berkeley, CA: U.C. Berkeley Ph.D. Diss.).

To the extent that neoliberal reforms are consolidated in any but the most developed countries of the two regions, the relative success stories discussed in this dissertation (Bolivia and Bulgaria) revealed a highly contingent pattern of deep initial economic crisis, skillful political coalition building, and generous Western support... the importance of taking advantage of the initial economic crisis... to forge a more durable political coalition in support of economic reforms. While.. the importance of such coalitions is easy to ignore during the post-electoral honeymoon period, governments that succumb to the temptation of insulated economic policy decision-making have a much more difficult time sustaining economic reforms once their popularity is undermined by the sometimes sizeable social costs of such reforms.... another interesting dilemma... the statistical results and the discussion of Bolivia's unlikely neoliberal reform coalition confirm the importance of rent sharing as the glue that binds together social and political actors.... On the other hand, the increasing neoliberal emphasis on privatization, deregulation, and public employment reductions undercuts the very basis of the political coalitions... if the state has fewer discretionary resources... governments are likely to find it progressively harder to buy off the potential political opponents... exacerbat[ing] the costly and destablizing stop-go economic policy cycle....

[T]he importance of well-functioning bureaucratic institutions... if IMF-style neoliberal reforms are to succeed in the long run... sustained effort ot build effective bureaucracies and states which... do not emerge spontaneously from the happy marriage of democracy and capitalism...

Posted by DeLong at May 14, 2003 05:18 PM | TrackBack


So what are they saying here? A successful IMF austerity package means a government rich enough to bribe people not to revolt, which runs at cross-purposes with the cuts in government spending required by the package.

And I wonder what type of "well-functioning bureaucratic institutions" would need to be built? Does the dissertation have any ideas?

Posted by: odgmis on May 15, 2003 08:27 AM
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