Lost in Transition? The Persistence of Dictatorship Mayors
Abstract: Dictatorships can affect the functioning of new democracies but the mechanisms are poorly understood. We study the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile using new data and provide two findings. First, mayors appointed by Pinochet obtained a nine percentage point vote premium in the first local election in democracy. This premium is explained by an incumbency advantage and by an increase in local spending during the transition. Second, dictatorship mayors increased the vote share of right-wing political parties in democracy. We conclude that the dictatorship won “hearts and minds” before the transition and successfully maintained part of their political power.