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  • Author: Erica Frantz, Barbara Geddes
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: When dictators seize power, they face a choice about how to deal with the pre-existing political parties. Some simply repress all par- ties, some ally themselves with one of the traditional parties and use it to help organize their rule, and others repress pre-existing parties but create a new party to support themselves. This study examines how these deci- sions affect the subsequent development of party systems after redemoc- ratization. Looking at the experience of Latin America, a region that has experienced its share of dictatorships, we show that dictators who allied with traditional parties or repressed existing ones have contributed to very stable party systems. By contrast, dictators who repressed the old parties but created a new one destabilized their countries’ party systems for some time after the return of democracy.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Democracy, Dictatorship, Party System
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Malu A.C. Gatto, Timothy J. Power
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: We examine the distribution and consequences of postmaterialist value orientations among national legislators in Brazil. Using data collected in the Brazilian Legislative Survey in 2013, we undertake the first systematic study of postmaterialism within the National Congress and the party system and map the materialist/postmaterialist scale onto other salient divisions within the political class. We present five main findings. First, political elites evince vastly higher commitment to postmaterialism than the mass public. Second, Brazilian political elites drawn from constituencies with higher human development are more postmaterialist than their counterparts in other constituencies. Third, within the political class, the materialist/post- materialist cleavage overlaps in important ways with the left–right cleavage. Fourth, although postmaterialism successfully predicts elite attitudes on a number of “new politics” issues that are unrelated to the construction of the postmaterialist scale itself, postmaterialism is a poor predictor of voting behavior on the Congressional floor. Fifth, as others before us, we find institutional factors to be better predictors of legislative voting behavior in the Brazilian context.
  • Topic: Legislation, Elites, Postmaterialism , Political Class
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Valentin Figueroa
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In this paper, I use a slightly modified version of the Becker– Stigler model of corrupt behavior to explain bureaucratic political in- volvement. Since bureaucrats prefer higher rewards and not to support losing candidates, we expect them to become politically involved near elections – when rewards are expected to be higher, and information more abundant. Taking advantage of a natural experiment, I employ differences-in-means and differences-in-differences techniques to esti- mate the effect of electoral proximity on the political involvement of justices of the peace in the city of Buenos Aires in 1904. I find a large, positive, and highly local effect of electoral proximity on their political involvement, with no appreciable impact in the months before or after elections.
  • Topic: Corruption, Elections, Justice, Bureaucracy
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Jean Francois Mayer
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The literature addressing market dynamics typically assumes that reforming labor legislation has a direct impact on economic perfor- mance, the configuration of labor markets, and the strength of labor organizations. Within this literature one prevalent school of thought advocates flexibilizing labor laws as the key to creating economic pros- perity, enhancing labor productivity, increasing formal sector employ- ment, and successfully fighting poverty and socioeconomic inequality. I test these assumptions by analyzing the case of Brazil between 1995 and 2010. My findings suggest that reforms seeking to flexibilize the Brazilian labor code do not significantly change the country’s labor market or economy. I propose that transformations in international economic con- texts as well as differing policy orientations of successive Brazilian feder- al governments may hold more explanatory power in accounting for labor market changes during this time period.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Reform, Employment, Legislation
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Gilles Serra
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Mexico’s consolidation strategy seems to be reaching a limit. The country’s transition from authoritarianism was largely based on a series of electoral reforms that leveled the playing field in elections. While this strategy was initially successful, it has failed to address several problems, especially in the electoral arena. This essay analyzes the preva- lence of two such problems, vote buying and illegal campaign finance, which are closely connected. I draw evidence from available accounts of the 2012 presidential election and subsequent contests in problematic states such as Tabasco. The outcomes of the midterm elections of June 2015 are also used to assess whether previous electoral reforms have provided effective solutions to the problems analyzed here. I suggest that no legal reform will be effective while these laws are only being weakly enforced. A more comprehensive package of measures strengthening the rule of law would help Mexico transition from electoral democracy to liberal democracy.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Elections, Rule of Law, Illiberal Democracy
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Ivan Juca, Marcus Andre Melo, Lucio Renno
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: While corruption is widely disapproved of, some corrupt poli- ticians continue to win elections. We tackle this paradox by examining the effects of malfeasance scandals in politicians’ behavior. In particular, we focus on their campaign finance strategies and career choices. We explore these issues empirically with an original dataset that includes all lower-house members of Congress (MCs) in Brazil from 1995 to 2010. Although tainted incumbents tend to be penalized electorally, we show that campaign spending attenuates this effect. These results are robust, controlling for a host of potential confounders and biases. Hence, we offer a first exploration of incumbents’ strategies to avoid the electoral cost of their publicized wrongdoings. Above a certain threshold of fund- ing, Brazilian members of Congress become impervious to negative exposure, regardless of the severity of their ethical and/or criminal viola- tions. These results carry important normative consequences in terms of regulating campaign financing as a means of improving accountability.
  • Topic: Corruption, Legislation, Campaign Finance , Scandals
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Lucinda Allyson Benton
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Research on the impact of participatory institutions in Latin America has not yet examined how they work in authoritarian settings. Na- tional autocrats in Mexico implemented participatory reforms during that country’s national electoral authoritarian regime. Building on research on political decentralization in authoritarian regimes, I argue that participatory institutions can be used to channel citizen demands and to incorporate citi- zens into authoritarian systems, thereby strengthening authoritarian rule. However, following research on democratic participatory governance, I also argue that participatory institutions will work better in this regard when designed from the bottom up rather than from the top down. Statistical analysis of patterns of municipal-level electoral authoritarian support in Mexico shows that bottom-up-designed participatory institutions imple- mented during electoral authoritarian rule strengthened local political control to a greater extent than top-down-designed political systems. The study supports research revealing the anti-democratic effects of participatory insti- tutions in democratic Latin American nations.
  • Topic: Governance, Authoritarianism, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Monica Pachon, Gregg B. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines committee behavior in Colombia to determine whether parties or coalitions exert agenda-setting powers despite the fact that the formal rules seemingly create little incentive for cooperation. Colombia’s party system is extremely fragmented, electoral volatility is high, and there is a long history of candidate-centered elec- toral rules, all of which suggests that party and coalition leaders have few tools to control the legislative agenda. Additionally, chairs do not directly control committee reports as in other presidential cases. However, the naming of ponentes (rapporteurs) to write ponencias (bill reports) for the committee may give leaders the opportunity to set the agendas in com- mittees. Hence, we test whether committee chairs strategically name ponentes to control the agenda and favor their partisan or coalition inter- ests. We test these ideas using a unique dataset covering two complete legislative sessions and thousands of bills. Overall, we find that commit- tee chairs use the ponente process to set the agenda and privilege legisla- tion sponsored by allies, especially the executive.
  • Topic: Politics, Legislation, Decentralization , Party System
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Elizabeth Ann Stein
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper proposes that dissident leaders aiming to build mass opposition movements follow the mainstream press to help them gauge government tolerance for anti-government mass actions in repres- sive authoritarian regimes. Under conditions of censorship, media–state interactions serve as a barometer of the government’s disposition toward and capacity to impede public displays of dissent. Observing trends in coverage and the government’s reaction to this coverage helps activist leaders assess when it should be safest to plan anti-government mass actions, such as demonstrations, marches, or strikes. Using original data derived from coding content from the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo over the period of 1974–1982, I test whether opposition mass actions followed trends in taboo content and government treatment of the press during the period of political liberalization of Brazil’s military regime.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, The Press, Oppression, Dissent
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Kurt Weyland
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: What light can international relations theory shed on how developing countries such as Brazil have achieved regional leadership and international influence? This comprehensive examination of Brazili- an foreign policy over the last few decades argues that Realism provides a better account of Brazil’s strategy than Liberalism and Constructivism. Despite changes of government and regime, Brasília has persistently pursued relative political gain, especially international influence. Howev- er, because this rising country has faced an established hegemon in the form of the United States, it has not been able to employ conventionally Realist instruments and tactics. Its subordinate position in the current power constellation has forced Brazil to forego political or military con- frontation and instead use economic cooperation, both with the hegemon and its weaker neighbors. Through this collaboration, Brazil hopes to derive disproportionate benefits that will enhance its relative power. By elucidating these complex calculations, the present essay ex- plains the Realist strategy that ambitious nations such as Brazil have pursued and helps design a version of Realism that captures recent pow- er dynamics in the international system.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, Hegemony, Realism
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Rossana Castigliono, Cristobal Rovira Kaltwasser
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Democratic representation seems to be increasingly under stress in various established democracies, such as Greece, Spain, and the USA. Chile is also following this trend, but there are a number of partic- ularities that make the Chilean case distinctive. After all, Chile is widely regarded as one of the most consolidated democratic regimes in Latin America and as having solid economic performance. However, citizens have shown decreasing levels of satisfaction with democracy and repre- sentative institutions, and are turning to protest and social mobilization to express their discontent. The paradox that Chile is facing today lies in the mismatch between the attitudes of voters and the overall perfor- mance of the regime. In explaining this intriguing puzzle, most of the literature has emphasized the legacy of institutional arrangements inher- ited from military rule. We argue that institutions are necessary but insuf- ficient for explaining the increasing challenges that democratic represen- tation faces. Thus, we also claim that it is necessary to consider not only the expansion of critical citizens and middle income earners, but also the repoliticization of inequalities.
  • Topic: Democracy, Inequality, Citizenship, Representation, Middle Class
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Jana Morgan, Carlos Melendez
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Conventional wisdom suggests Chile’s party system is highly institutionalized. However, recent declines in participation and partisan- ship have begun to raise questions about this veneer of stability. This article assesses the current state of the Chilean party system, analyzing its ability to provide linkage. We specify a theoretical framework for identi- fying challenges to linkage and constraints on necessary adaptation. We then use this framework to evaluate linkage in the contemporary Chilean system, emphasizing how its representational profile has changed since the democratic transition. The analysis suggests the two partisan coali- tions no longer present clear policy alternatives and programmatic repre- sentation increasingly depends on policy responsiveness and relics of old ideological divides. Significant institutional constraints impede parties’ ability to incorporate demands from emerging social groups, and clien- telism remains a complementary but not core linkage mechanism. This evidence indicates that while representation in Chile has not yet failed, the system contains serious vulnerabilities.
  • Topic: Democracy, Participation, Party System
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Peter M. Siavelis
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article analyzes the challenges to democratic representa- tion in contemporary Chile, with an institutional focus. I argue that the post-authoritarian model of politics was deeply constrained by institu- tions and practices inherited by democratic authorities and reinforced by the model of transitional politics and its series of informal institutions, which first facilitated, but then hindered democratic performance. While this does not point to a regime-threatening crisis, there are deep chal- lenges to representation and a desire for a different model of politics that is more capable of resolving conflicts and satisfying citizen demands. I posit that, until now, Chile’s formal and informal institutions have privi- leged stability over representation, accountability, and legitimacy. Conse- quently, it has fallen to social movements to set the agenda for change aimed at addressing Chile’s deeper problems of political and social ine- quality. I argue that institutional reforms are a necessary, yet insufficient, antidote to current challenges of representation.
  • Topic: Democracy, Representation, Legitimacy
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Emmanuelle Barozet, Vicente Espinoza
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: n this article, we analyze the impact that the evolution of the middle classes has had on political representation in Chile. Based on a description of the transformations of Chilean social structure in recent decades, we review the conceptual frameworks available on the subject, from modernization theories and the rise of new masses – particularly the one that “emerged” from poverty – to the forming of new critical citizens. We state that the heterogeneity of Chilean middle classes has challenged the discredited representation system. We observe more effi- cient representation channels developing for medium-high-income, edu- cated, and consolidated sectors in contrast to new social policy demands from emerging and vulnerable sectors, focusing more on consolidating their economic status than on improving representation channels.
  • Topic: Democracy, Representation, Middle Class
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Kenneth M. Roberts
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: For 20 years following the 1989–1990 democratic transition, Chilean politics was characterized by stable forms of party-based political representation, relatively low levels of social mobilization, and a techno- cratic consensus around a neoliberal development model that generated rapid and sustained, albeit highly unequal, patterns of economic growth. This sociopolitical matrix was challenged, however, when hundreds of thousands of students and their supporters took to the streets to protest against educational inequalities, while smaller numbers of protestors mobilized around a plethora of other labor, environmental, and indige- nous rights claims. This wave of social protest occurred in a context of growing detachment of Chilean citizens from traditional parties and representative institutions, and it punctured the aura of inevitability and consensus that surrounded the country’s economic model. The ground- swell of popular protest signified the end of a posttransition political era in Chile and the dawning of a new one defined by the repoliticization of social and economic inequalities, including vigorous debates about the social pillars of the neoliberal model and the reach of social citizenship rights. The Chilean case sheds new light on the processes by which ine- qualities come to be politicized or depoliticized in different structural, institutional, and ideational contexts.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Inequality, Citizenship, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Chile
  • 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: Brian Wampler, Michael Touchton
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Civil society has exploded in Latin America as democratization has continued over the last 30 years. Civil society organizations (CSOs) are thought to improve governance and oversight and to increase social capital. Nonetheless, we have limited knowledge about what motivates CSOs’ politi- cal strategies, which include participating in formal political institutions, attending demonstrations, and providing services. We build knowledge here by evaluating data from a unique survey of nine hundred CSOs across seven Brazilian cities. Our findings showcase several parallel processes: poorer CSOs continue to rely on the state and actively participate in political pro- cesses despite protesting at greater rates than wealthier CSOs; therefore, we contend that institutional and political process arguments better explain poorer CSOs’ behavior. We also argue that relatively wealthy CSOs’ disen- gagement reflects greater resource mobilization, more professionalization, and an increase in social capital. Our results show that multilayered explana- tions improve our understanding of CSO behavior and state-society rela- tions in Brazil and Latin America.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Inequality, Social Capital
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Matthew S. Winters, Rebecca Wietz-Shapiro
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In long-standing democracies, the partisan attachments of most citi- zens are stable and not responsive to short-term political events. Recent studies from younger democracies, however, suggest that partisanship may be more malleable in these contexts. In this paper we develop hypotheses about how political corruption might affect voter attachment to the parties of corrupt offi- cials or to the party system as a whole. Using data from an original survey exper- iment in Brazil, we show that prompts about political corruption shift patterns of partisan attachment for highly educated respondents – specifically, that cor- ruption associated with one political party reduces nonpartisanship and signifi- cantly increases identification with other political parties. In contrast, we find that information on corruption has no consistent measurable effect on partisan- ship for less educated respondents. We conclude by discussing the implications of malleable partisanship for democratic accountability.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democracy, Accountability, Participation
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: James David Bowen
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that rather than theorize state building and democracy separately, we should direct our attention to studying the dual construction of democratic states. To do so, we must understand the contradictory relationship between the concentration of power needed to build state institutions and the constraints on this power dictated by the norms of liberal democracy. I present an outline for studying state build- ing and democratic governance and illustrate my argument with a study of Ecuador. I argue that stable democracy must rest on three pillars: effective state institutions, the autonomy of these institutions from other powerful actors, and the existence of meaningful institutions of account- ability. The challenge is that efforts to strengthen one or more of these pillars are likely to undermine the others. I argue that Ecuador, particu- larly under the Correa administration, has experienced substantial achievements in the area of institution building, has a mixed record with regards to autonomy, and offers little in the way of accountability.
  • Topic: Governance, Democracy, Accountability, State Building, Autonomy
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Ecuador
  • Author: Joel W. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that perceptions of corruption in Latin America exhibit predictable fluctuations in the wake of presidential turn- over. Specifically, presidential elections that result in the partisan transfer of power are normally followed by a surge-and-decline pattern in per- ceived corruption control, with initial improvements that fade with time. The causes are multiple and stem from the removal of corrupt admin- istrations, public enthusiasm about administrative change, and the rela- tive lack of high-level corruption scandals in the early phases of new governments. A statistical analysis of two widely used corruption percep- tions indices demonstrates the pattern for eighteen Latin American de- mocracies from 1996 to 2010. Both indices exhibit a temporary surge (of about two years) after turnover elections, while no such change follows reelections of incumbent presidents or parties. The theory and results are relevant for understanding public opinion in Latin America and for the analysis of corruption perceptions indices.
  • Topic: Corruption, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, North America