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Economic Vulnerability and Partisanship in Latin America

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 June 2019

Melina Altamirano*
Melina Altamirano is an assistant professor at the Center for International Studies, El Colegio de México.


A significant proportion of the population in Latin America depends on the informal economy and lacks adequate protection against a variety of economic risks. This article suggests that economic vulnerability affects the way individuals relate to political parties. Given the truncated structure of welfare states in the region, citizens in the informal sector receive lower levels of social security benefits and face higher economic uncertainty. This vulnerability makes it difficult for voters to establish strong programmatic linkages with political parties because partisan platforms and policies do not necessarily represent their interests and needs. Using cross-national microlevel data, this study shows that individuals living in informality are skeptical about state social policy efforts and exhibit weaker partisan attachments. The findings suggest that effective political representation of disadvantaged groups remains a challenge in Latin American democracies.

Research Article
© University of Miami 2019 

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