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Does it have to do with cultural factors? Ex: they were colonies of Spain and Portugal who themselves are not that great at managing their economies relative to other western European countries.

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    $\begingroup$ Could you please back up your opening statement with some explanation & data. I.e. what do you mean by fare worst, which exact countries are we talking about what time frame are we talking about, etc. (E.g. did Brazil fare worst at managing inflation than Zimbabwe between 1990 - 2010?) $\endgroup$
    – Giskard
    Mar 14 '16 at 19:40
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Perhaps you should look up the following collection of studies,

Dornbusch and Edwards (ed.), The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America(1991)

It is freely downloadable from its official site. Here is the opening paragraph of the Editors' piece

"Latin America’s economic history seems to repeat itself endlessly, following irregular and dramatic cycles. This sense of circularity is particularly striking with respect to the use of populist macroeconomic policies for distributive purposes. Again and again, and in country after country, policymakers have embraced economic programs that rely heavily on the use of expansive fiscal and credit policies and overvalued currency to accelerate growth and redistribute income. In implementing these policies, there has usually been no concern for the existence of fiscal and foreign exchange constraints. After a short period of economic growth and recovery, bottlenecks develop provoking unsustainable macroeconomic pressures that, at the end, result in the plummeting of real wages and severe balance of payment difficulties. The final outcome of these experiments has generally been galloping inflation, crisis, and the collapse of the economic system. In the aftermath of these experiments there is no other alternative left but to implement, typically with the help of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a drastically restrictive and costly stabilization program. The self-destructive feature of populism is particularly apparent from the stark decline in per capita income and real wages in the final days of these experiences."

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