CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Populism and Social Policy in Latin America

December 7th, 2011
5:00 PM

Location
Greenleaf Conference Room, 100a Jones Hall

A Lecture Featuring Kurt Weyland.

Populism and Social Policy in Latin America

Professor Kurt Weyland will examine the relationship between populism and social policy in contemporary Latin America to close the CIPR Fall 2011 Seminar Series. Weyland will compare the populist administrations of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela (1999-present) and Alberto Fujimori in Peru (1990-2000) with the non-populist, reformist government of Luis Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil (2003-10) and the center-left Concertación coalition in Chile. He argues that, essentially, populist governments have some advantages in their social policy making, but the disadvantages end up being more significant.

Populist leaders concentrate power and tend to use it for creating substantial social programs quickly. By allocating significant financial resources, they try to alleviate pressing needs fast. But since populist leaders exercise their power in a discretionary, haphazard fashion, these new social programs often suffer from inefficiency, problematic design, politicization, and deficient implementation and are subject to setbacks and reversals. As a result of this, their accomplishments tend not to last. Whereas left-leaning presidents who are not populists construct their reforms brick by brick, populist leaders build sandcastles that rise quickly, but are as quickly washed away by the waves of changing economic or political conjunctures.

Kurt Weyland is Professor of Government and Lozano Long Professor of Latin American Politics at the University of Texas at Austin. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford (1991) and has conducted research in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Peru, and Venezuela. Based on his investigations, he has published Democracy without Equity: Failures of Reform in Brazil (Pittsburgh, 1996); The Politics of Market Reform in Fragile Democracies (Princeton, 2002); Bounded Rationality and Policy Diffusion: Social Sector Reform in Latin America (Princeton, 2007); a volume co-edited with his UT colleagues Raúl Madrid and Wendy Hunter, Leftist Governments in Latin America: Successes and Shortcomings (Cambridge, 2010); and many articles and book chapters on democratization, neoliberalism, populism, and social policy in Latin America.

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CIPR Fall Speaker Series

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Please join us Mondays at noon for our Fall speaker Series
Markets, the State, and Democracy in Latin America
October 14, October 21, November 11, and November 18.

In the 2019 fall series, Markets, the State, and Democracy in Latin America, speakers will discuss emerging issues that have surfaced as the result of the opportunities and challenges to democratic governance that markets have brought to the region. Latin America experienced a major influx of investment, particularly in the resource sector, over the past several decades. While this foreign investment helped hasten economic development, it also brought a backlash of resource nationalism and increased calls for redistribution. Moreover, Latin America is now a model in its own right, with other countries in the Global South adopting its state-sponsored development strategies in the resource sector. These presentations will also explore how Latin America is navigating a sea change in geopolitics, with China emerging as a challenger to the United States as the region’s main trade partner and ally.

For more information, check out our Fall Series Poster

Latin American Writers Series: Alberto Barrera Tyszka

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Ecuadorian writer and Tulane Visiting Scholar Gabriela Alemán interviews Venezuelan writer Alberto Barrera Tyszka about his life, interests, and influences. Their discussion will be followed by an open Q&A and an informal reception. This event will be held in Spanish.

About the Latin American Writers Series

This series brings together Latin America’s most representative creative voices and the editorial entrepreneurs that publish them. By way of interviews conducted by renowned Ecuadorian writer Gabriela Alemán and presentations of various editorial missions, the guests will shed light on a literary world shaped by the contemporary issues of the continent. Moving forward, their conversations will comprise the centerpiece of a digital archive that introduces their ideas to a global audience.

Este serie reúne a los autores más representativos de la escritura continental y los editores que los publican. A través de entrevistas con la reconocida escritora ecuatoriana Gabriela Alemán y presentaciones de proyectos editoriales, los invitados explorarán los vínculos entre el mundo literario y la realidad continental. Sus conversaciones se convertirán después en el eje de un archivo digital que busca llevar estas ideas a un público global.

About the Author

Born in Caracas, Alberto Barrera Tyszka has published over a dozen works of poetry, short story, chronicle, novel, and biography. His most recent publications include the novels Patria o Muerte (2015) and Rating (2011), the poetic anthology La inquietud (2013), the collection of chronicles Un país a la semana (2013), and the short story collection Crímenes (2009). In 2005, he collaborated with Cristina Marcano to write the definitive biography of Hugo Chávez, Hugo Chávez sin uniforme: una historia personal (2005). Patria o muerte won the 2015 Premio Tusquets de Novela, and his novel La enfermedad, translated into English as The Sickness (2010), received the 2006 Herralde Award. Barrera also writes for television and has scripted soap operas for Venezuelan, Mexican, Colombian, and Argentinian networks.