Date of Award

Spring 2010

Project Type


Program or Major

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Mary Malone


Does democracy help the poor? Nicaragua, the emphasis of this study, will be used to analyze the impact democracy might be having on improving the lives of the poor. The World Development Indicators (World Bank) and the Human Development Index (United Nations) from 1992--2006 will be used in this study to measure economic growth in Nicaragua. The Latin America Public Opinion Project data on Latin America measures Nicaragua public opinion regarding democracy and economic growth in the country.

The graphs from the World Bank illustrate that the standard of living for the poor in Nicaragua is improving and that democracy has brought some economic growth. Still the data from the LAPOP surveys in two different time periods 1991 and 2008 show that the level of improvements does not indicate any drastic increase in growth of material well being. The increase in consumer possession is significant, but not dramatic.