Latin America during the 1980s experienced the apparent paradox of political opening toward democracy in the midst of drastic economic downturn. This path-breaking volume, a collection of essays by several established scholars and a few younger specialists, is the first to examine systematically the two-way relationship between political regimes and economic policies during this period. Individual chapters take up key actors and major cases, as well as the longer-term pattern of interplay between democratic politics and economic policy. The co-editors' final essay argues that non-military political regimes have played an important role in shaping the response of Latin American countries to the economic crisis of the 1980s, and that there has also been a correlation, albeit weaker, between regime type and economic performance. However, the essay also suggests that prolonged deprivation in Latin America will not necessarily erode political democracy in the period ahead.