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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: 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: 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
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: Gilles Serra
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Dominance by a single party can deteriorate the quality of political representation. Yet, surprisingly, voters sometimes support a formerly dominant party they had previously thrown out of power. As an important case, this essay studies the victory in the 2012 elections in Mexico of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Why did voters give it a new opportunity to rule the country? Accusations of fraud have been insufficient to explain the party's victory, so this research looks for electoral explanations. The paper points to fatigue with the incumbent party; unsatisfying economic and security conditions; ineffective campaigns by both the National Action Party (PAN) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD); the PRI's popularity based on its governing experience; and a convincing PRI candidate who secured the conservative, rural, and poor voters. This conveys the mandate for Peña Nieto to produce tangible results without abandoning democracy. More broadly, these observations shed light on the perplexing phenomenon of formerly dominant parties making an electoral comeback.
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • Author: Brian M. Faughnan, Jonathan T. Hiskey, Scott D. Revey
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Scholars of the world's most recent democratization processes have tended to focus on how national-level institutions have developed and how citizens have interpreted and responded to those developments. In this paper, we argue that the distinct subnational political environments that emerge from uneven national regime transitions are important determinants of how people view their political world. Specifically, we argue that citizens' experiences with and attitudes towards corruption are particularly influenced by the subnational political context in which those citizens live. We use survey data from across Mexico to test our theoretical expectations that a multi-party electoral context will heighten citizens' awareness of corruption as a governance issue, even as their chances of being victimized by corrupt behavior is reduced. Conversely, we posit that one-party electoral environments should facilitate a "business as usual" attitude toward corruption among government officials and citizens. As efforts to deepen democracy and improve governance continue across the developing world, our findings highlight the need to incorporate subnational political processes into efforts to under- stand and address such critical issues as corruption and its consequences.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • Author: Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera
  • 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 article provides an explanation of major civil upheaval and violent political turmoil – hereinafter referred to as “active political factionalism” – that take place in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. More specifically, this work identifies the main causes of extra-institutional protest politics or uncivil modes of political action that seriously affect political stability and undermine democratic advancement. The analysis focuses on the effects of two groups of explanatory factors: i) deteriorated socioeconomic conditions (such as poverty and inequality), and ii) institutional limitations (corruption, electoral exclusion, a weak rule of law, among others) in a context of “subnational authoritarianism.” The study also examines some of the mechanisms through which these variables operate and interact with other factors (resources, opportunities, government actions, etc.) to generate political factionalism. This work finally assesses the relative importance of these two groups of explanatory factors. Evidence presented here shows that institutional factors are the primary sources of political factionalism in Oaxaca, while socioeconomic factors are quite significant but not predominant.
  • Political Geography: Mexico