Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 09/2010

¿Es el crecimiento económico suficiente para apoyar la democracia? Lecciones del caso chileno

Pedro Aravena Lavin

August 2010

German Institute of Global and Area Studies


Is Economic Growth Sufficient to Support Democracy? Lessons from the Chilean Case

This article analyzes the support for democracy in Chile from an economic, institutional and political perspective. It uses data from Latinobarómetro for the period 1996–2007 and a statistical method of estimation, “ordered logit,” in order to answer the question of why support for Chilean democracy is not connected with economic growth. The analysis generates three key results of interest. First, regardless of the fact that GDP per capita does not have any effect on the level of support for democracy, it does affect individuals’ perceptions of economic performance, since the variable “economic situation” is one of the most explanatory variable of the model. Second, the analysis demonstrates the importance of the degree of confidence in the Congress at the moment that perceptions of democracy are evaluated. Third, “political ideology” is the most useful variable in explaining support for democracy, a fact which suggests that the adherents of the right wing do not support the democratic system. This is the most reliable reason for the moderate level of support for democracy in Chile.