Jun 15, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

POL 420 - Institutions and Inequality: a case study of Panama

B. Crandall

Panama has been a stable democracy since 1990 and has in recent years been celebrated as an economic success story for its rapid rate of per capital GDP convergence with the United States. The country’s canal along with high levels of service exports, foreign direct investment, and capital accumulation have been attributed as key factors driving growth and stability. This course will use this Panamanian success story as a starting point, analyzing the drivers of economic growth and relative political stability in Panama. At the same time, we acknowledge the “tyranny of averages” in indicators such as per capital income and will dig deeper into the winners and losers of Panama’s current economic and political landscape. Panama is the second most unequal country in Latin America. To this end, we will look into what policies and/or sectors of its economy have contributed to or impeded more broadly shared prosperity. We also aim to better understand how political institutions are functioning in the country, including understanding its transition to democracy as well as the inclusivity of political rights, specifically Panama’s indigenous populations. A key element of our understanding of Panama will be a class trip to Panama City during the week of spring break. Students should have basic Spanish speaking and reading skills.

Satisfies Political Science major requirement.
Satisfies Latin American Studies major and minor requirement. 
Satisfies Cultural Diversity requirement.

Prerequisites & Notes
Requires instructor permission. To seek permission email professor with the following 3 details: 

Class year (limited to Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors)
Why you want to take the class