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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