The relationship between transitional justice and economic development has recently attracted the attention of academics and policymakers. An emerging literature highlights the tension between the forward-looking economic goals of growth, development, and investment and backward-looking trials and truth commissions. Current research focuses on the impact transitional justice choices may have on a state's ability to compete for international assistance or to embark on economic reconstruction following periods of civil war and authoritarianism. This article broadens the scope of the study of the political economy of transitional justice by examining the effect of transitional justice on the perceptions of private investors. Specifically, we articulate two competing theories of investor preferences toward transitional justice-"Development through Stability" and "Development though Justice"-and explore how stock markets in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil have responded to efforts to address past human rights abuses over time. The article argues that investor reaction is country specific: Investors in Argentina view trials as destabilizing and have reacted positively to amnesties; in Chile, investors view trials positively; and in Brazil, investors viewed early efforts to pursue the truth or grant reparations negatively, but these reactions have tempered over time. The article concludes by suggesting future avenues for research on the relationship between transitional justice and private investors.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Tricia D. Olsen is an Assistant Professor of Business Ethics and Legal Studies at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. Trained as a comparative political scientist and methodologist, her research employs a mixed-methods approach to better understand the political economy of first-and second-generation rights in emerging and developing economies. Olsen’s most recent work focuses on understanding variation in approaches to microfinance using a newly-created dataset and qualitative data gathered during 12 months of fieldwork in Brazil and Mexico. Olsen’s research has been supported by Fulbright-Hays, FLAS, the PEO Foundation, and the Latin American Public Opinion Project, among others. Olsen is also the coauthor of Transitional Justice in Balance: Comparing Processes, Weighing Efficacy (USIP Press, 2010) as well as numerous articles on transitional justice appearing in Human Rights Quarterly and Journal of Peace Research, among others. Olsen received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Andrew G. Reiter is an Assistant Professor of Politics at Mount Holyoke College. He is cofounder of the Transitional Justice Data Base Project, which has received funding from the United States Institute of Peace and the National Science Foundation, among others. He is the coauthor of Transitional Justice in Balance: Comparing Processes, Weighing Efficacy (USIP Press, 2010) as well as numerous articles on transitional justice appearing in journals such as Human Rights Quarterly, International Studies Review, and Journal of Peace Research. In addition to transitional justice, his research focuses on violence, conflict resolution, and human rights. His recently completed dissertation examines the impact of violent spoilers on civil war peace agreements, and his recent coauthored article in Armed Forces and Society examines the use of military courts to shield members of the armed forces for human rights abuses. Reiter holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.