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Policy Legacies, Sociopolitical Coalitions, and the Limits of the Right Turn in Latin America: The Argentine Case in Comparative Perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 February 2022

Gabriel Vommaro
Gabriel Vommaro is a professor in the Escuela Interdisciplinaria de Altos Estudios Sociales, Universidad de San Martín and CONICET, San Martín, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Mariana Gené
Mariana Gené is an assistant professor in the Escuela Interdisciplinaria de Altos Estudios Sociales, Universidad de San Martin and CONICET.


After more than a decade of leftist governments in Latin America, the left turn began to reverse course, giving way to the rise of rightist political forces. Even moderate right-wing governments undertook reforms to reduce public spending. This agenda, however, encountered important obstacles. Focusing on the 2017 Argentine pension reform and based on extensive qualitative research, including in-depth interviews with key players, the findings here uphold previous work on the strength of policy legacies in opposition to promarket reforms. This study contributes to the existing theory by showing that protests against retrenchment favor the formation of opposition coalitions only in places where left-leaning governments had established inroads with organized popular sectors, maintaining relationships of coordination and collaboration. In these cases, the cost of specific reforms can jeopardize the broader project of retrenchment.

Research Article
© The Authors 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the University of Miami

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Conflicts of interest: authors declare none.


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