Document Type

Senior Thesis

Publication Date



This paper examines how politicians sell International Monetary Fund (IMF)-mandated economic reforms as a long term solution to constituents. IMF loans are difficult for citizens in the short term, and Argentina’s 2019 presidential election provides a natural experiment to examine how politicians get voters to accept short term costs for longer term gains. Two candidates for the presidency, President Macurio Macri and Alberto Fernandez, used different strategies in how they claimed they would, or would not, adopt conditions attached to Argentina’s 2017 IMF loan. By using a content analysis of politician speeches leading up to the October 2019 election, this paper answers the following question: how do Argentine politicians’ rhetoric toward IMF austerity measures try to convince voters that they have the adequate economic policies for reform? My original data collection shows that the IMF is not frequently mentioned by candidates but their policies are widely used as a proxy attack. Given that Macri ultimately lost the election, it also highlights the difficulty of convincing voters that they must embrace austerity as well as the advantages of populist rhetoric during economic crises. This paper suggests broad implications in how the IMF needs to better work with democratic governments to convince voters to support tough economic reforms attached to IMF loans