Costa Rica: Paradise in Doubt

Issue Date July 2005
Volume 16
Issue 3
Page Numbers 140-154
file Print
external View Citation

Latin America's oldest democracy is undergoing a crisis of confidence, one made manifest by the recent jailing of two former presidents on corruption charges. This paper analyzes how changing electoral preferencesis behind the disintegration of the two-party system. It examines how citizen dissatisfaction is rooted in the difficulty of overseeing more than one hundred autonomous institutions responsible for a wide array of governmental functions. It also examines the political repercussions of chronic fiscal deficits. Reasonable levels of economic growth and the resilience of the political system should permit a recovery that, however, will be neither quick nor painless.