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Benczes, István. “Populism and/or Developmentalism: Past and Present Experiences.” In The Political Economy of Emerging Markets and Alternative Development Paths, pp. 61-86. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2023.


Thirty years ago, the concept of “economic populism” was an original approach to understand the failed development trajectories of Latin America. At the heart of that research programme was the analytical description of the boom-and-bust cycles and the main elements of the adopted economic policy package that favoured income redistribution along with structural changes in the economy.

Contemporary populism has become a worldwide phenomenon. By now, however, populist policies can hardly be judged as irresponsible; yet, certain distinct characteristics can still be identified. One field where populists have been rather active is developmentalism. Whereas scholarly work has been vigorously studying the demand side of populism, no such determined interest can be experienced with regard to the supply side, i.e., what populists actually do in power. The chapter addresses this challenge by comparing the most recent experiences of populists in power to the original elements of the populist developmental package.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.