University of Arkansas, Fayetteville


Voter turnout has declined precipitously during Latin America's 25 year experience with representative democracy. This decline has occurred in conjunction with another important trend. Across the region, economic development directed by state leaders and characterized by heavy state intervention has been replaced by a development model, commonly referred to as the Washington Consensus, in which markets are the preferred instrument for growth and the state plays a minimal role. This means that as people were casting off their undemocratic past, their economies were also undergoing fundamental change. This simultaneous turn to democratic governments and marketbased economic policy is commonly called Latin America's dual transition. The twin transition gives rise to the basic research question of this work: Is the dramatic decline in democratic participation throughout Latin America somehow linked to the political or economic consequences of market reform?