Collective Action and Policy Implementation: Evidence from Salvador Allende’s Expropriations

Abstract: The Cold War triggered the appearance of US-sponsored re-distributive policies in Latin America with the goal of decreasing the influence of the Soviet Union. We study how organized groups of workers increased the intensity of one of the largest programs of the time, Salvador Allende’s land reform in Chile (1970–1973). Using original data in an event study research design, we find that the local political actions of workers—proxied by land invasions—affected the intensity and location of expropriations. We argue this result can be explained by a threat of political unrest.