Unexpected social policy expansion and progressive tax reforms initiated by right-wing governments in Latin America highlight the need for further theory development on the politics of redistribution. We focus on electoral competition for low-income voters in conjunction with the power of organized actors—both business and social movements. We argue that electoral competition motivates redistribution under left-wing and right-wing incumbents alike although such initiatives are more modest when conservatives dominate and business is well organized. Social mobilization drives more substantial redistribution by counterbalancing business power and focusing incumbents on securing social peace and surviving in office. By characterizing distinctive features of social-policy politics and tax-policy politics and theorizing linkages between the two realms, we contribute to broader debates on the relative influence of voters versus organized interests in policymaking. We apply our theory to explain “least-likely” cases of redistributive policies under conservative governments in Mexico (2000-2012) and Chile (2010-2014).


Fairfield, Tasha, and Candelaria Garay. "Redistribution Under the Right in Latin America: Electoral Competition and Organized Actors in Policymaking." Comparative Political Studies 50.14 (December 2017): 1871-1906.