Determinants of presidential approval ratings: Cross-country analyses with reference to Latin America

Ji Won Jung, Jinhwan Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Despite a conventional belief that prosperity boosts presidential popularity, research on the effect of economic and political factors on presidential popularity shows wide variation. What are the main contributing factors when people evaluate their political leaders? How do economic conditions and perception of corruption influence people’s evaluations of their political leaders? Using comprehensive, up-to-date panel data covering 20 countries, mostly from Latin America, and also including South Korea and the United States, from 1988 to 2016, this study shows that the effect of gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate and unemployment rate are strong throughout the period considered. From the year 2000, inflation and perception of corruption become significant. In highly corrupt countries, however, the significance of corruption becomes more salient, together with GDP growth rate and unemployment rate, as citizens of these countries begin to evaluate their leaders in terms of their determination to address these problems. In countries with low approval ratings, voters generally weigh GDP growth rate more heavily.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-267
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Area Studies Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • Latin America
  • Presidential approval
  • determinants
  • panel data
  • regression analyses


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