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  • Author: Sebastian Etchemendy, Puente Ignacio
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In the early 1980s Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico had commer- cial banking sectors that were dominated by local banks. The largest countries in Latin America were subjected to common international economic pressures during both the neoliberal 1980s and 1990s – includ- ing the expansion of capital markets in the periphery and integration into the regional trade agreements NAFTA and Mercosur – and the post- 1998 financial turmoil. By 2015, however, the three countries had con- solidated alternative commercial banking systems: domestic private group dominated (Brazil), mixed (i.e., ownership more evenly divided among public, private domestic, and foreign banks (Argentina), and foreign bank dominated (Mexico). The article traces these alternative outcomes to the power of prereform private financial groups, the viru- lence of “twin crises” in the transition from fixed to floating exchange rates, and the (contingent) role played by government ideology.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Finance, Trade, Banking
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, South America, Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Anibal F. Gauna
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article examines the issue of democratic deterioration by revisiting the Venezuelan case (1974–1998). Using sequence elaboration and alternative case-focused theories, it tests and confirms the hypothesis that presidential partyarchy was the main contextual explanatory factor behind the crisis that led to Venezuela’s democratic deterioration. Building on elite conflict theory, it also aims to integrate previous studies’ insights and better explain the timing of factors to illustrate how economic presidentialism (the highly autonomous executive control of a state-controlled economy) was the main mechanism leading to democratic deterioration.
  • Topic: Economics, Authoritarianism, Democracy, State-Owned Enterprises
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Venezuela
  • Author: Laura Ross Blume
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Between 2005 and 2015, organized criminal groups murdered 209 politicians in Mexico. This paper explains why. It argues that the two interwoven trends of political and criminal pluralization in Mexico fostered the conditions for a new type of criminal violence against politicians. Mexican politicians are now targeted for accepting illicit money as well as for standing up to criminals. Moreover, this violence is evidence of an alarming and persistent pattern in Mexico of politicians enlisting criminal organizations to eliminate their political competition. Using a zero-inflated negative binomial model, this paper shows there is a strong statistical relationship between the increase in assassinations and the increases in political pluralization and criminal fragmentation. The article concludes that the failure to protect local public officials creates greater opportunities for the emergence of subnational authoritarian enclaves and threatens democratic consolidation.
  • Topic: Crime, Authoritarianism, Democracy, Assassination, Organized Crime
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Lucas Gonzalez
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: What is the effect of political competition on subnational social spending? Using descriptive statistics and regression models for original budget panel data for the 24 Argentine provinces between 1993 and 2009, the study finds that social spending increases the more electorally secure governors are and the longer they have been in office. It also finds that other arguments in the literature are relevant in explaining variations on types of spending, such as partisan fragmentation in the districts. The article discusses these findings for the Argentine provinces and explores their implications with regard to the debates on the effects of electoral competition and the design of social policies, especially in developing countries and federal democracies.
  • Topic: Developing World, Elections, Democracy, Local, Social Spending
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Convadonga Meseguer, Jaupart Pascal, Javier Aparicio
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: We explore how the reception of remittances affects perceptions of the bilateral relationship between Mexico and the United States. Scholars have claimed that the economic benefits of the relationship with the US prevail over imperialistic concerns as a result of the asymmetry of power between the two countries. Empirical research shows that Latin American public opinion is indeed more supportive of the US than theory indicates. However, we identify two gaps in this literature. First, scholars have explored the determinants of generic expressions of sentiment toward the US, overlooking more concrete instances of cooperation between the two countries. Second, scholars have focused on trade and investment and have ignored how the material gains of emigration shape attitudes toward the US. The present paper fills these two gaps by using novel survey data on the bilateral relationship between Mexico and the US. On one hand, we find that while the reception of remittances correlates positively with good sentiments toward the US, the recipients of remittances are consistently more opposed to cooperation with the US in the fight against drug trafficking. We argue that this finding can be explained by the different nature of the migratory phenomenon, and the connection between anti-drug trafficking policies and the close scrutiny of illegal flows of money and people.
  • Topic: Imperialism, Migration, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Trafficking , Borders, Drugs
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Ronald Ahnen
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The success of microcredit lending programs depends in part on the regulatory framework that policymakers create to support them. A fact that many microcredit analyses often ignore or overlook is that this framework is shaped by both ideological and partisan political considerations of policymakers. In Argentina, the Peronist governments of Néstor and Cristina Kirchner launched and supported a state-centered microcredit program characterized by strict loan conditions and direct state grants for capital and operational costs to existing non-profit organizations that were largely supportive of Peronism. Provinces and municipalities governed by anti-Peronists refused to participate. As a result, the National Microcredit Program has come to mimic past patronage based policies to a significant extent, engendering dependency on government resources, and thereby threatening its long-term viability. This article explores the impact of the left’s ideological and political project on microcredit policy, implementation, and outcomes in Argentina.
  • Topic: Regulation, Microcredit, Leftist Politics, Credit
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: We examine the electoral alliances between two Mexican political parties – the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) and the Partido Verde Ecologista de México (PVEM). Despite the PRI’s electoral dominance, it has entered into preelection agreements with the PVEM since 2003. These electoral pacts are unusual for several reasons: the parties do not share an ideology; their bases of support come from different social sectors; and the PRI’s survival as a party does not depend on these pacts. Using electoral data from 2006 to 2015, we examine the electoral districts in which the PRI and the PVEM ran joint candidates in federal legislative elections. We find that the ultimate goals of each party, their past electoral performances at the legislative district level, and the presence of PRI–PVEM alliances in gubernatorial elections explain the parties’ choices to collaborate in certain districts. Our findings have important implications for understanding the behavior of parties in newer democracies.
  • Topic: Elections, Legislation, Local, Domestic Policy, Party System
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Emilia Simison
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper studies the territorial scope of the bills presented by members of the Chamber of Deputies (the lower chamber of the Argentine National Congress) during Juan Domingo Perón’s first two terms in office (1946–1955). Its main objective is to observe the effect that modifying the electoral system (switching from incomplete party ballots in multimember districts to relative majorities in single-member districts) had on that scope. Experimental techniques (an interrupted time-series and a within-subjects design) are used to analyze a novel database including every bill presented in the Chamber of Deputies during the period in question. Contrary to theoretical expectations, an increase is observed in the share of bills with a territorial scope that goes beyond deputies’ districts – especially for those presented by legislators from the opposition and from larger provinces. In addition, by separately analyzing the effect on the ruling party and the opposition, the paper uncovers a plausible explanation for previous nonconclusive findings.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Domestic politics, Legislation, Local
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: David Pion-Berlin, Miguel Carreras
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Over the past two decades, the armed forces have increasingly been asked to take an active role in the fight against the rampant crime in Latin America. Since the militaries in this region are not always trained to conduct themselves with restraint, the possibility of excesses and human rights violations is always latent. Despite that prospect, there is a high level of public support for military counter-crime interventions throughout the region. The key argument in this article is that when the Latin American public supports military interventions to combat crime, it makes a comparative judgment call about the relative efficacy of military vs. police conduct in domestic security roles. Latin American citizens have very low confidence in the capacity of the police to fight crime effectively and to respect human rights. They place more trust in the armed forces as an institution capable of performing effectively and in accordance with human rights standards and the rule of law. This study develops these arguments in greater detail and then turns to recent Americas Barometer surveys that clearly show that Latin American citizens place more trust in the armed forces than the police as an institution capable of effectively and humanely fighting criminal violence.
  • Topic: Crime, Law Enforcement, Police, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Jacobo Grajales
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The article examines the links between paramilitary groups and the Colombian state within a context of pervasive violence. Colombia represents a particularly interesting case as high-intensity violence is accompanied by the preservation of a relatively strong institutional framework. Most interpretations of this relationship consider it to be either a sign of state weakness or a centralized strategy to outsource violence. Taking a different stance, the paper argues that the existence of paramilitary groups compels us to analyze government through practices vis-à-vis the treatment of violence. A policy linking private security and counterinsurgency, crafted in the early 1990s and known as Convivir, provides an illustration of this approach.
  • Topic: Security, Counterinsurgency, State Violence, Violence, Paramilitary
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Latin America