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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
  • Author: Kenneth Bunker, Patricio Navia
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article applies the debate on the recent emergence of outsider candidates in Latin America to independent presidential candidate Marco Enríquez-Ominami (ME-O) in Chile in 2009. We test five competing hypotheses to explain his electoral success. First, his support is explained by the consolidation of democracy, reflected by the disposition of voters to disregard the authoritarian/democratic-aligned candidates. Second, his support is explained by the decline of ideological identification, reflected by the disposition of voters to prefer nontraditional candidates. Third, his support is explained by the resurgence of the Left, reflected by the disposition of voters to identify with anti-Washington Consensus candidates. Fourth, his support is explained by the demand for quick government action, reflected in the predisposition of voters to consider candidates who will solve problems fast even if they do not ask voters for their opinions. Fifth, his support is explained by the declining support for established parties, reflected by the predisposition of voters to favor antisystemic candidates. We use survey data to test these hypotheses. We find no evidence to support the claims that ME-O fits any of the explanations. Though he was widely referred to as an outsider, his success seems to respond to national affairs rather than to a regional pattern.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Scott Morgenstern, John Polga-Hecimovich, Sarah Shair-Rosenfield
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Comparative constitutional studies rank the US president as relatively weak and most Latin American presidents as strong. However, specialized studies suggest that US presidents have great abilities to implement their agendas. We argue that presidents with weak formal powers “reinforce” their ability to impose an agenda (scope), as well as their ability to make those decisions stick (force). These reinforced powers, however, have diminishing returns as formal powers rise. As a result, the sum of presidential powers ranges from high (the US) to very high (Latin America).
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Silvina Danesi, Ludovic Rheault
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Latin American legislatures have gone largely unstudied, with the functioning of the Argentine Chamber of Deputies prior to the 1980s being an entirely unexplored subject. This paper fills that gap by examining the organization of the Chamber, with particular focus on its standing committee system from 1946 to 2001. We assess the portability of two U.S.-based theoretical approaches to legislative organization by applying them to committee assignments. An original data set of Argentine deputies was constructed and a way of measuring political power in committees was devised for this study. Despite weak democratic governments, military interventions, and changes to the electoral system, we find that ruling parties have consistently influenced the committee system, shaping its structure and securing an over-proportion of their deputies in key committee positions. These results support the applicability of the U.S. originated Cartel Theory of legislative organization to understanding and studying legislatures outside that country.
  • Political Geography: United States, Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Nina Wiesehomeier, David Doyle
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Do Latin American citizens share a common conception of the ideological left–right distinction? And if so, is this conception linked to individuals' ideological self-placement? Selecting questions from the 2006 Latinobarómetro survey based on a core definition of the left–right divide rooted in political theory and philosophy, this paper addresses these questions. We apply joint correspondence analysis to explore whether citizens who relate to the same ideological identification also share similar and coherent convictions and beliefs that reflect the ideological content of the left– right distinction. Our analysis indicates that theoretical conceptions about the roots of, and responsibility for, inequality in society, together with the translation of these beliefs into attitudes regarding the state versus market divide, distinguish those who self-identify with the left and those who selfidentify with the right.
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Miguel Carreras
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This essay calls for a more nuanced analysis of the evolution of party systems in Latin America. I contend that the general impression that party systems are collapsing in Latin America and that processes of partisan and electoral dealignment are affecting most countries in the region is incorrect. I also argue that the process of moderation and de-ideologization of the main political parties in many Latin American party systems often facilitates processes of democratic consolidation. Finally, I discuss the positive impact recent transformations of Latin American party systems had on political representation in the region, by showing that formerly excluded groups – especially indigenous groups – have been integrated into the political system.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Eduardo Dargent, Paula Muñoz
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article argues that in Colombia, decentralization and electoral reforms adopted in the late 1980s and in the 1991 Constitution – designed to improve democratic quality – brought about a gradual deinstitutionalization of this country's traditional party system as an unintended consequence. Building upon resource-based theories of party configuration, we contend that in developing countries, where resources are usually crucial for party aggregation, “democratizing” reforms designed to distribute power and resources in the political system can reduce local candidates' incentives to join and remain loyal to political parties, particularly when those parties' reputations are weak. In Colombia, these reforms (i) reduced the power of intermediate-level party leaders over the distribution of selective incentives, making these leaders less important for local politicians, and (ii) gave more political and financial autonomy to local candidates, reducing their need to join parties in order to advance their electoral goals. As a result, party cohesion and discipline become difficult to maintain, and the party system gradually deinstitutionalizes.
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Barry S. Levitt
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: What role do Latin Americans expect legislatures to play vis-à-vis the executive? How do expectations shape political trust in a developing democracy like Peru? This article introduces new indicators gauging citizens' current perceptions of, and idealized expectations for, the institutional independence of their elected assemblies. It uses 2007 data to test the hypothesis that the gap between the two indicators – the “legislative autonomy gap” – predicts trust in Congress. Most Peruvians claimed to prefer a more autonomous legislature. And citizens whose high expectations for institutional independence were adequately met were more likely to express confidence in Congress. However, having low expectations of congressional autonomy met also enhanced confidence in that institution. Trust in Congress proved to be pragmatic too, tied to perceptions of strong national economic performance, confidence in political parties, approval of congressional leader- ship, and approval of the same president from whom most Peruvians wished Congress would become more independent.
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Peru
  • Author: Edward L. Gibson
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Why feature the topic “subnational authoritarianism and democratization” in the Journal of Politics in Latin America ? Because despite widespread agreement that subnational jurisdictions in Latin America vary considerably in the democratic character of their politics, political scientists are still largely in the dark about how to conceptualize and measure this situation, and have scant knowledge about mechanisms that sustain and undermine it. This collection of articles makes major headway toward clearing our methodological and theoretical ignorance of these topics.
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Mary Fran T. Malone
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • 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 countries of Central America have confronted soaring crime rates. Justice systems of dubious quality provide thin shields against this crime crisis, despite substantial international and domestic investment in justice reform. Indeed, there is growing concern that crime will undermine justice reform efforts. Scholars and practitioners have pointed out that public frustration with crime, coupled with dissatisfaction with justice institutions, can lead citizens to reject reform efforts. Still, the micro-level relationships between crime and public support of the justice system have been understudied. Using public opinion data from the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP), this study aims to add to the literature by examining the effects of victimization and fear of crime on public trust in the justice system. The results indicate that crime can erode public support for the justice system, but the mechanics of this relationship vary according to national context.
  • Topic: Crime
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Central America
  • Author: Brian J. L. Berry, Osvaldo S. Tello Rodriguez
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Data for 17 Latin American countries collected by Latinobarómetro 2005 reveal that dissatisfaction with democracy is a sign of progress. Political stability and increased governmental effectiveness enable the better-educated leftish young to express their feelings without fear of repression and violence, which is particularly notable in countries least connected into the global economy, where inequality remains high. Dissatisfaction is thus an indicator of political modernization running ahead of progress in the economic sphere.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Latin America
14. Editorial
  • Author: Jorge Gordin
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Welcome to JPLA Journal of Politics in Latin America. The launching of this journal reflects some changes in the field of comparative politics on Latin America. With the waning of military dictatorships in the region, there has been a proliferation of academic work on formal institutions, which now amounts to the dominant paradigm in the discipline. This scholarship on institutions has rebounded in the last two decades because of an increased interest on the part of political scientists and policy analysts in the quality of democracy and the performance of Latin American polities. Numerous comparative country studies as well as cross-national quantitative studies have focused on formal rules such as those governing the working of presidential and parliamentary regimes, elections, and the organization of political parties. Notwithstanding such studies, there is a conspicuous gap between these research foci and the increasing worldwide interest in informal institutions addressing issues such as public security and crime, corruption, globalization, and energy management, among others.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Adam Przeworski
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The paper is narrowly addressed to a single puzzle: How did it happen that countries that attempted to install democracy earlier enjoyed it less frequently? Regime dynamics are driven by two mechanisms: (1) Democracies become more durable as per capita income increases, and (2) Past experiences with democracy destabilize both democracies and autocracies. As a result, countries that experiment with democracy at lower income levels experience more regime instability. Moreover, until they reach some income threshold, at any time such countries are less likely to be democratic than countries that first enter democracy when they have higher incomes. Hence, paradoxically, the resistance of European monarchies against democracy resulted in democracies that were more stable than those following postindependence attempts in Latin America.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Kurt Weyland
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Influential theories claim that institutions shape actor behavior but are sustained by these actors' behavior. How do scholars escape from this trap of endogeneity? This article highlights a partially exogenous factor: institutional models and blueprints. Since these ideational schemes do not emerge from actor preferences, they play an independent, irreducible role in institutional creation. In fact, Latin America has borrowed many blueprints from the “First World.” But transferred to a different setting, these imported models often fail to command firm, reliable compliance and do not operate well. Therefore, informal mechanisms arise and guide behavior. External borrowing thus produces persistent disjunctures in institutional development.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Timothy J. Power
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Latin America contains roughly half of the world's countries that use compulsory voting, but this electoral institution has received only limited attention from researchers. This article examines the determinants of voter turnout in the world's largest electorate subject to mandatory voting, that of Brazil. In analyzing data from six national legislative elections held in Brazil between 1986 and 2006, the study finds that the impact of compulsory laws varies across social and economic groups. From a methodological perspective, the article argues that “compulsoriness” of mandatory voting legislation can be modeled by taking into account both exemptions to the law and the relevance of potential sanctions against non-voters. The issue of enforcement must be considered if we are to develop comprehensive models of electoral participation under conditions of compulsory voting.
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Laura Wills-Otero
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The study of party systems and political parties is one of the largest subfields in political science. Classic studies in advanced democracies focused primarily on party systems and developed theories about the causes and consequences of different types of systems. In recent years, new academic work begun to differentiate parties within systems by understanding their organizational structure, their internal dynamics, the different ways in which they interact with their constituencies, and the strategies that they use to attract voters. Studies show that parties within the same system behave and react differently given their internal conditions. This article reviews three scholarly books that deal with this issue. The works analyze the internal dynamics of Latin American political parties and their capacity to respond and adapt their structures when environmental challenges take place.
  • Topic: Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Kathryn Hochstetler, Margaret E. Edwards
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Are presidential democracies inherently unstable and prone to breakdown? Recent work on Latin America suggests that the region has seen the emergence of a new kind of instability, where individual presidents do not manage to stay in office to the end of their terms, but the regime itself continues. This article places the Latin American experiences in a global context, and finds that the Latin American literature helps to predict the fates of presidents in other regions. The first stage of a selection model shows that presidents who are personally corrupt and preside over economic decline in contexts where democracy is paired with lower levels of GDP/capita are more likely to face challenges to their remaining in office for their entire terms. For the challenged presidents in this set, the risk of early termination increases when they use lethal force against their challengers, but decreases if they are corrupt. These factors help account for the disproportionately large number of South American presidents who have actually been forced from office, the “South American anomaly” of the title.
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Bruce M. Wilson
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article analyzes the conditions that allowed for expansive rights revolutions in Costa Rica and Colombia. My research suggests that many of the preconditions for rights revolutions in other regions of the world are also central to understanding Latin American cases. Of particular relevance is judicial system design including the high courts\' operating rules concerning access, standing, and judicial formality. These factors can and do mitigate the need for extensive resources and support structures necessary in other non-Latin American countries in which rights revolutions have occurred.
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Aníbal Pérez-Liñán, Andrea Castagnola
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In many Latin American countries the executive branch manipulates the composition of the Supreme Court, and judicial independence has remained elusive. Because high courts can exercise judicial review and influence lower courts, incoming presidents often force the resignation of adversarial justices or “pack” the courts with friends. One indicator of this problem has been the high turnover among members of the high courts. In this paper we offer systematic evidence to compare this problem across countries and to place this issue in historical perspective. Our analysis covers 11 Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, and Uruguay) between 1904 and 2006. We model the entrance of new justices to the Supreme Court as a function of “natural” (legal and biological) factors, political conditions empowering the president to reshuffle the Court, and institutional incentives promoting executive encroachment on the judiciary.
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Miguel Centellas
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This research note considers the effects of electoral system reform in Bolivia. In 1995, Bolivia moved from a list-proportional to a mixedmember proportional electoral system. The intervening years saw growing regional polarization of politics and a collapse of the existing party system. Using statistical analysis of disaggregated electoral data (at department, municipality, and district level), this paper tests whether electoral system reforms may have contributed to the current political crisis. Research findings show that regional cleavages existed prior to electoral system reform, but suggest that reforms aggravated their effects. Such evidence gives reason to question the recent popularity of mixed-member proportionality.
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Bolivia