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  • Author: Françoise Montambeault, Graciela Ducatenzeiler
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: After two successive presidential terms, the leader of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) – the Workers' Party – Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, left office in 2011.1 After his first electoral victory in 2002, many observers of the Brazilian political arena expected a radical shift in the country's public policies towards the left. These expectations were rapidly toned down by the moderate nature of the policies and changes implemented under Lula's first government. Notwithstanding, Lula has succeeded in becoming one of the most popular presidents in Brazilian history and, by the end of his second term, about 90 percent of the population approved of his presidency. He attracted a large consensus among leftist forces in favor of market policies, which were accompanied by an important rise in the minimum wage and pension, as well as the expansion of social policies like his flagship program Bolsa Família. Some of his opponents grew to trust him as he tightened fiscal policy and repaid external debt. His government promoted growth through the adoption of economic measures that supported productive investments, including investorfriendly policies and partnerships between the public and private sectors. At the end of his second term, poverty and inequality had been significantly reduced, which had effects not only on wealth distribution, but also on growth by increasing domestic demand. Lula's Brazil also gained international recognition and approbation, becoming an emerging international actor and without a doubt a leader in Latin America.
  • Topic: Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Michael S. Danielson, Todd A. Eisenstadt, Jennifer Yelle
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article argues that the low levels of descriptive representation of women in local political office in Mexico and Latin America is much more than a problem of the purported patriarchal cultures of indigenous and rural communities. We claim, based on a comprehensive survey of 466 municipal governments in the indigenous state of Oaxaca, that the underrepresentation of women is a function of institutions limiting female candidates. We test this "candidate supply" hypothesis, adapted from US-based studies, against the hypothesis that culture – as measured by indigenous ethnicity – has an independent effect on women's representation. We disconfirm that patriarchal, traditionalist cultures of indigenous communities cause underrepresentation in the election of women and instead find that a particular set of local institutions, which are more prevalent in indigenous municipalities, blocks the supply of potential women candidates. We conclude by considering the normative implications for women's representation in local politics in Mexico and Latin America.
  • Topic: Multiculturalism
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Cecilia Martínez-Gallardo
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article proposes a set of arguments about the strategic use of cabinet appointments by executives in presidential systems. Although recent work has greatly improved our understanding of government formation in presidential countries, most changes to presidential cabinets happen throughout the lifetime of a government and remain poorly understood. I argue that presidents use cabinet changes in response to unexpected shocks and to adjust their governments to changing political and policy circumstances. Weak presidents are more likely to use this strategic resource, which means that ministerial turnover should be higher when a president's formal authority is weak and he or she has low political support and popularity. To test these claims, I have assembled an original dataset that records individual cabinet changes in 12 Latin American countries between 1982 and 2012. The data provides strong support for the theory.
  • Political Geography: Latin America