Date of Award

Spring 2009

Project Type


Program or Major

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Mary Fran T Malone


The gap between the rich and the poor is widening at the global level, and at national level in many Latin American states. The poor distribution of assets and resources serves as an obstacle to overall economic development and threatens political and social stability. Such inequality has persisted despite substantial economic and political change in many Latin American states, fueling a development debate among theorists, economists, social scientists, and policymakers. How can persistent inequality be explained? As a nation with high inequality, economic growth, and democracy Peru serves as a pertinent case study. A qualitative analysis of regime type, economic policy, and institutions in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s reveals that exclusive institutions guiding the executive, political parties, military, and judiciary have perpetuated the inequality problem. The findings highlight the importance of institutional reform in economic development.