Social Spending and Elections: An Examination of Latin American Third Wave Democracies, 1980-2008


During the period in which Latin America underwent the most lasting and widespread wave of democratization, we test whether governments targeted increases in social spending to coincide with presidential elections in a panel of eighteen Latin American democracies from 1980 to 2008. Results confirm that governments increase health and social security expenditures during elections and that democracies that were most apt to channel increases in social spending to coincide with elections were those in the transition stage of democratization.

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