This article analyzes the interaction between economic crises and partisan politics during International Monetary Fund program initiation in Latin America in the 1980s and Eastern Europe in the 1990s. The author argues that economic crises are at least in part in the eye of the beholder, and therefore policy responses reflect the interaction between crisis intensity and the government's partisan interpretation of the crisis, which in turn depends on the nature of the economic crisis and its broader regional and international environment. Using cross-country statistical evidence from the two regions, the article shows that certain types of crises, such as liquidity shortfalls, elicit similar responses across the ideological spectrum and regional contexts. By contrast, debt repayment and domestic crises are more prone to divergent ideological interpretations, but the extent of partisan divergence is context sensitive in that it occurred during the Latin American debt crisis but not in the post-communist transition.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Eastern Europe
- Economic crisis
- Economic reform
- International Monetary Fund
- Latin America