The Volatility Curse


Tuesday, November 9, 2021, 12:00pm to 1:20pm

For a recording of this event, please click here.

When does economic voting function as a mechanism of democratic accountability, and when does it fail to do so? In their new book, The Volatility Curse, Campello and Zucco show that in Latin American countries that are dependent on commodity exports and inflows of foreign capital, governments may lose popular support and be punished by voters for economic outcomes that are beyond their control. Because politicians are aware of these misattribution patterns and able to anticipate their electoral prospects well before elections, they are more likely to shirk, waste resources, and engage in corruption than to maximize voter welfare, as anticipated by economic voting theories.

Speakers: Daniela Campello, Professor at FGV/EBAPE in Rio de Janeiro; Cesar Zucco, Professor at FGV/EBAPE in Rio de Janeiro
Discussant: Robert Kaufman, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University
Moderated by: Frances Hagopian, Jorge Paulo Lemann Senior Lecturer on Government, Harvard University

Daniela Campello is an Associate Professor, Brazilian Public and Business Administration School, Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV/EBAPE). She was previously a Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Princeton and an Associate Fellow with the Princeton Program in Latin American Studies, run by the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics and the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance. She also worked as an Associate Professor for the Joint Program in Social Policy. Her research has concentrated on topics related to the international and comparative Political Economics, focusing particularly on the political consequences of economic globalization processes in developing countries, neoliberalism, political ideology, inequality and redistribution. She recently completed a book on the The Politics of Market Discipline in Latin America: Globalization and Democracy, published by Cambridge University Press in 2015, and is now writing another on the International Economy, Blind Retrospection and the Limits of Democratic Accountability. Her work has been published in the Comparative Political Studies journal, the Oxford Handbook of Latin American Political Economics and books printed in Uruguay, Spain and the United States. Before opting for an academic career, she worked as a business consultant at Accenture, a sell-side analyst at Banco Pactual and a fund-raising manager with the Rio de Janeiro State Planning Bureau.

Cesar Zucco is a Political Scientist and Associate Professor at FGV/EBAPE, a school of business and public administration in Rio de Janeiro. He was previously Assistant Professor at Rutgers, and has held visiting appointments at Nuffield College, Princeton, Yale, and IUPERJ (currently IESP). He specializes in Latin American politics, and have written on executive-legislative relations, political parties, voting behavior, and the politics of public policy. His first book Partisans, Antipartisans, and Nonpartisans (with David Samuels) was published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press. The Volatility Curse, written in collaboration with Daniela Campello has just been published by Cambridge University Press. In this book, they examine the consequences of voters' misattribution of responsibility for economic outcomes, particularly in countries reliant on commodity exports and foreign investment flows, and how this prevents voters from holding incumbents accountable through elections.

Robert Kaufman is Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University. He received his AB and PhD from Harvard University. He has been a Research Associate at the Harvard Center for International Affairs in 1967-68 and again in 1975-76. In 1980-81 he was a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and a Research Fellow at the Collegium Budapest in 1997. In 2000 and 2015 he was a Visiting Scholar at Nuffield College, Oxford University. From 2001 to 2003, he served as a member of the Executive Council and as Treasurer of the American Political Science Association, and is currently President of the Comparative Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. He has written widely on authoritarianism and democratic transitions and on the political economy of economic reform. His current research is on the relation between inequality, distributive conflict, and democratization during the “Third Wave.” His most recent book is Dictators and Democrats: Elites, Masses, and Regime Change, co-authored with Stephan Haggard and published by Princeton University Press, 2016. Other books include Development, Democracy, and Welfare States: Latin America, East Asia, and Eastern Europe, 2008), coauthored with Stephan Haggard. He is also co-author (with Stephan Haggard) of The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions (with Stephan Haggard), winner of the 1995 Luebbert Prize for the best book in comparative politics, awarded by the Comparative Politics Section of the American Political Science Associatio, and he is co-editor (with Joan M. Nelson) of Crucial Needs, Weak Incentives: Social Sector Reform, Globalization and Democratization in Latin America, 2004.

Frances Hagopian is Jorge Paulo Lemann Senior Lecturer on Government. She specializes in the comparative politics of Latin America, with emphasis on democratization, political representation, political economy, and religion and politics. Hagopian is author of Reorganizing Representation in Latin America (2014, Cambridge University Press), editor of Religious Pluralism, Democracy, and the Catholic Church in Latin America (University of Notre Dame Press, 2009), co-editor (with Scott Mainwaring) of The Third Wave of Democratization in Latin America: Advances and Setbacks (Cambridge 2005), and author of Traditional Politics and Regime Change in Brazil (Cambridge University Press, 1996) and numerous journal articles and book chapters. Her current work focuses on the establishment of a social welfare regime in Brazil, and the political economy of inequality in Latin America. She previously taught at the University of Notre Dame, where she was Director of the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, as well as Tufts and Harvard Universities. She has also been a visiting professor at the London School of Economics and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an Associate Member of Nuffield College, Oxford.

Presented in collaboration with Weatherhead Center for International Affairs