Populists and Technocrats in Latin America: Conflict, Cohabitation, and Cooperation

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Populists and Technocrats in Latin America: Conflict, Cohabitation, and Cooperation


  • Rodrigo Barrenechea Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, USA
  • Eduardo Dargent Social Science Department, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Peru


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Abstract:  The literature frequently presents populists and technocrats as antagonistic. Although undoubtedly there are good historical examples that confirm this tension, in this article we propose that the relations between economic technocrats and populists are less conflictive than usually assumed and cohabitation a more common outcome than expected. We argue that two conditions moderate conflict between populists and economic technocrats, leading not only to their cohabitation but to cooperation between them: the programmatic mandate of populists and the economic context of their rise to power. We analyse the relations of economic experts with nine populist presidents in contemporary Latin America to show this argument’s soundness.

Keywords:  Latin America; political economy; populism; technocrats

Published:   17 December 2020


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v8i4.3333


© Rodrigo Barrenechea, Eduardo Dargent. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.