Research News

Will a bad economy hurt democracy?

Results from the latest AmericasBarometer Survey showing what the impact of worldwide economic decline might mean for democratic consolidation in Latin America will be presented on May 8 at the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, D.C.

The presentation by Vanderbilt University political scientists Mitchell Seligson and Elizabeth Zechmeister is titled “Economic Shocks and Democratic Vulnerabilities: Evidence from the AmericasBarometer Survey.”

The Inter-American Dialogue, a center for policy analysis, exchange and communication on issues in Western Hemisphere affairs, will hold a breakfast discussion with Seligson and Zechmeister from 8:30 to 10 a.m. The center is located at 1211 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 510.

Following the presentation, Cynthia McClintock, professor of political science and director of the Latin American and Hemispheric Studies Program at George Washington University, will offer her perspective on the survey results and the democratic implications of the downtown.

The 2008 AmericasBarometer Survey included 24 nations and more than 40,000 interviews. “Nations in the Americas have not been immune to democracy recession,” said Seligson, Centennial Professor of Political Science, professor of sociology and director of the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) at Vanderbilt. “We are concerned that as the economic recession deepens, further erosion might take place.”

Those who would like to attend this discussion are asked to RSVP by sending an email to

For more information on the 2008 AmericasBarometer Survey and LAPOP, click on Learn more about the Inter-American Dialogue at

Media contact: Ann Marie Deer Owens, 616-322-NEWS