تقلب انتخاباتی، ظهور پرون و مرگ کنترل و توازن در آرژانتین
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Explorations in Economic History, Volume 47, Issue 2, April 2010, Pages 179–197
The future looked bright for Argentina in the early twentieth century. It had already achieved high levels of income per capita and was moving away from authoritarian government towards a more open democracy. Unfortunately, Argentina never finished the transition. The turning point occurred in the 1930s when to stay in power, the Conservatives in the Pampas resorted to electoral fraud, which neither the legislative, executive, or judicial branches checked. The decade of unchecked electoral fraud led to the support for Juan Peron and subsequently to political and economic instability.
Institutions matter and are instrumental for achieving sustained economic growth. In this paper we argue that beliefs, an informal norm, matter as much as the formal rule of law. In short in many instances they are complements. Adherence to the rule of law, particularly within a legitimate system of checks and balances is the exception rather than the norm for most countries. The development of the rule of law entails solving a coordination problem in which the actors refrain from acting in their short-run interests, particularly during crises.1 Here is where belief systems can buttress the formal institutions from crumbling during times of crises. Either authoritarian or democratic governments can establish adequate protection of property rights under the rule of law so as to foster economic growth but the difference is in the legitimacy and beliefs in the system. The conventional wisdom has been that longer run economic growth and higher income per capita tends to induce a transition from autocratic regimes to democracy (Lipset, 1959 and North, 1995). More recently Acemoglu et al. (2008) have argued that “critical historical junctures” are more important determinants than income for whether a country makes a transition to democracy.2 Those countries that managed to consolidate democracy while weathering a crisis along the way added to the likelihood that they would stay on the path of a legitimate system of checks and balances that maintains secure property rights. Many scholars, e.g., North (1995) stress the importance for long-run economic growth on restraining governments from becoming confiscatory. As Weingast (1997, p. 261) notes: “…citizens in stable democracies not only must value democracy but also must be willing to take costly action to defend democratic institutions against potential violations”. In this paper we present a case study of the erosion of the budding beliefs in checks and balances in Argentina, a country that was in the top ten of GDP per capita countries in the early twentieth century and began a long-run decline from the mid-20th century which continues today.3 In many ways our article is the mirror image of the analyses started with North and Weingast (1989) and followed by Stasavage (2003) and more recently by Bogart and Richardson (2008).4 In the North and Weingast analysis, the Glorious Revolution set in motion a system of checks and balances while in our analysis the fraudulent elections in Argentina in the 1930s eroded an emerging set of checks and balances and gave rise to “the tyranny of democracy”.5 The lesson from our study for emerging democracies today is that adherence to a system of checks and balances requires more than a constitution; it also requires the cultivation of a belief structure in which both the elites and citizens refrain from short-run opportunistic behavior. More recently North (2004) places particular emphasis on the importance of a belief structure to buttress the formal institutions in a country. In Argentina, beginning in the late 19th Century, there was a concerted push for electoral reforms with success coming for the secret ballot in 1912 (Crawley, 1984, Halperin Donghi, 1995, Pucciarelli, 1986, Rock, 1975 and Yablon, 2003).6 We view the post 1914–1930 period as a potential transition to a sustained democratic regime with open and reasonably honest elections, along with an independent Supreme Court: in short Argentina was on the road to becoming a legitimate democracy with checks and balances and high economic growth. The introduction of open elections allowed the Radical Party, a party with wide support from the middle class in the cities and rural tenants, to control the presidency, and the lower house of Congress (Rock, 1975). We consider this a significant milestone on the way to legitimate democracy from the former authoritarian conservative rule. In the next sixteen years with some bumps in the road, Argentina maintained its high standard of living while it was in transition to an open democratic system with a de jure and de facto independent court. Importantly, the formal institutions bolstered the beliefs by the lower and middle class that they were part of the process of government. Regrettably Argentina was unable to solidify the political transition to a democratic regime with checks and balances. The ineptitude of the aging President Yrigoyen in the face of the drop into the Great Depression led to a military coup, which restored the Conservatives to power.7 From 1930 to 1940, Argentina departed from open legitimate elections. To stay in power during the emergency period of the Great Depression the Conservatives resorted to electoral fraud in key provinces. Despite receiving high marks for their economic policies during the Great Depression, the electoral fraud perpetuated by the Conservatives along with the silence of the Supreme Court eroded the nascent foundations of a political belief system which might have brought about a true system of checks and balances. The Supreme Court openly approved the military coup of 1930 and countenanced electoral fraud throughout most of the 1930s.8 In short, it was the confluence of the Great Depression, a military coup, electoral fraud, and the countenance of electoral fraud by the Supreme Court and the Executive which paved the way for the populist policies and institutional reforms of Juan Peron.9 Once elected, the Peronists impeached four of its five Supreme Court justices on the grounds of their behavior in the 1930s as well as the thwarting of the “populist will”. From Peron and continuing today, the result has been political and economic instability10. Stop and go policies characterized the post-Peron years. Prados de la Escosura and Sanz-Villarroya (2004) most convincing tie instability in property rights to the relative decline in Argentine long-run economic growth. They point to the late 1940s as the turning point in property rights instability for Argentina. We agree with numerous scholars that the instability of property rights originated with the Presidency of Juan Peron but argue that a very plausible counterfactual is that Juan Peron would never have been elected had it not been for the electoral fraud perpetrated by the Conservatives in the 1930s. This is critical because we maintain that it was the erosion of a budding belief system – entailing honest elections, and a potential role for the Supreme Court as powerful veto over legislative or executive expropriations – and the failure to solidify this system during the 1930s that lead to the initial populist appeal of Peron. Our analysis proceeds in Section II with a brief overview of the institutional development of Argentina from its consolidation in 1862 up to the military coup of 1930. Based on our interpretation of the evidence that the military coup and the decade that followed represent a critical juncture for Argentina, we discuss in depth the electoral fraud of the 1930s. In Section III we analyze Peron’s rise to the Presidency and estimate an electoral counterfactual for Peron without the fraud of the 1930s. In Section IV, we discuss the policies of Peron and the impeachment of all but one of the Supreme Court Justices. In Section V, we offer concluding remarks.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The government of Argentina is given high marks for the policies that they implemented to fight the Great Depression. Unfortunately, to stay in office the Conservative governments in the 1930s engaged in electoral fraud. The fraud was no secret and was labeled “Patriotic Fraud.” Despite denunciations by the Radical Party in the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate and the President openly condoned the fraud, while the Supreme Court stood passively on the sidelines. By eroding the still developing beliefs for checks and balances by citizens, the fraud kindled a desire for populism. The electoral fraud ended with a military coup in 1943, followed by a narrow Presidential victory by the populist Colonel Peron. To achieve their goal of redistributing land and income to rural tenants, and to finance populist policies and industry, the Peronists passed legislation controlling rents and forcing owners to sell their land to tenants. Undoubtedly, an independent Supreme Court backed by a popular belief in checks and balances would have declared the legislation unconstitutional. But, the Peronists had no fear of their legislation being overturned. They impeached four of the five Supreme Court Justices on the grounds of sanctioning illegitimate governments in the 1930s, and obstructing legislation favoring urban and rural workers during the military rule of the mid-1940s. Naturally, the Peronists replaced the impeached Justices with appointees favoring the redistributive policies of the Peronists. Like their Conservative predecessors who engaged in electoral fraud, the Peronists believed that the ends justified the means. The policies of the Peronists further eroded the possibility of achieving a government grounded in the belief of a system of checks and balances. The aftermath has been economic and political instability. Argentina is a dramatic lesson for developing countries; it was on the path of solving the coordination problem in which the political actors refrain from acting in their short-run interests. During the Great Depression, Argentina strayed from the path of consolidating democracy within a legitimate system of checks and balances by engaging in electoral fraud. Unfortunately, Argentina has yet to find its way back.