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  • 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
  • Author: Francisco Cantú, Scott Desposato
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Federalism is widely lauded for its ability to manage deep social divisions and promote efficient policy in democratic systems, but it has been criticized for its impact on party system nationalization. In this paper, we explore the role of formal and informal institutions on party system nationalization in the Mexican political system, focusing on legislative politics. In Mexico, an end of one-party rule transformed the nature of center–periphery relations, empowering subnational actors and giving them incentives to act on the national stage. Using an original dataset, we show that these changes resulted in national parties dividing along state lines on policy decisions, and that the magnitude of these divisions depends primarily on 1) the informal centralization of career resources, 2) the extent to which parties are ideological and programmatic, and 3) the personal vote incentives of electoral rules.
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • Author: Katsuo A. Nishikawa
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: I argue that innovative development programs that require citizen participation in the production of public goods can have unexpected benefits for individuals' dispositions toward democracy. In particular, I explore the effect of taking part in state-sponsored neighborhood development programs – direct-democracy type programs that require individuals to organize within their community as a precondition for state help – on participant dispositions toward democracy and willingness to take part in politics. To test this hypothesis, I use original survey data collected in the Mexican state of Baja California. To measure the effect of participation in neighborhood development programs, I conduct a quasi experiment via propensity score matching. I find robust evidence suggesting that participating in such programs correlates with higher levels of political participation, a better sense of community, more positive retrospective evaluations of the economy (according to both pocketbook and sociotropic measures), and overall higher support for the government.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • Author: Miguel Carreras, Alejandro Trelles
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In this paper we analyze the effect of criminal violence on electoral participation in Mexico. Many scholars have studied the origins of criminal violence, as well as the success or failure of contemporary regimes in dealing with it. However, few have studied how it affects voter turnout. Following recent findings in the behavioral subfield, we hypothesize that as criminal violence increases, citizens abandon public channels of participation and take refuge in their private spheres. Using longitudinal and geostatistical tools to analyze Mexican municipalities in the last decade, we find that the level of electoral turnout is lower in the most violent regions of the country. In the final section, we use survey data to confirm that citizens exposed to high levels of criminal violence are less likely to vote.
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • Author: Agustina Giraudy
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article studies the continued existence of subnational undemocratic regimes in Argentina and Mexico, two countries that have recently experienced national democratization. The first part of the article offers a conceptualization of subnational democracy and measures its territorial extension across all subnational units. The second part explores a common, albeit not systematically tested explanation about subnational undemocratic regime continuity, namely, that these regimes persist because they meet national incumbents' strategic political needs. This claim is tested using statistical analyses to contrast patterns of spending across undemocratic subnational units during the presidencies of Menem (1989-1999), De la Rúa (2000-2001), Duhalde (2002), and Kirchner (2003-2007) in Argentina, and Fox (2000-2006) in Mexico. Contradicting conventional wisdom, the results show that presidents only reproduce a handful of subnational undemocratic regimes, as not all of them can meet presidential needs. In addition, the results reveal that the strategic calculation of presidents regarding this reproduction is dictated by factors that have been largely overlooked by the literature.
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Mexico
  • Author: Julián Durazo Herrmann
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: How do subnational authoritarian enclaves emerge (or survive) in a democratic transition at the federal level? How can they endure large-scale social protests, like the one that shook Oaxaca in 2006? While federal tolerance for subnational authoritarian practices is a necessary condition, it is insufficient in itself to explain why subnational political systems sustain and eventually reproduce authoritarian practices in the first place. In this article, therefore, I focus on the internal dimension of subnational authoritarianism. I argue that, because of its reliance on two distinct sources of legitimacy, Oaxaca's neo-patrimonial domination system was able to respond to the formal democratizing pressures emanating from the federal transition without losing its authoritarian nature. This process of hybridization transformed Oaxacan institutions, but left social structures and the political dynamics that emerge from them – the sources of subnational authoritarianism – almost intact. By exploring the evolution of neo-patrimonialism and hybridization in Oaxaca from a theoretical perspective, I address the issues of change and continuity in the emergence of subnational authoritarian enclaves, in Mexico and elsewhere.
  • Political Geography: Mexico, Oaxaca
  • Author: John Bailey, Matthew M. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Government and organized criminal groups co-exist in uneasy equilibrium. Criminal groups adjust their behavior as a function of their own goals and resources in relation to inter-group cooperation and conflict, dynamic markets, and public policies; governments adjust their behavior according to shifting perceptions of the benefits offered, threats posed, and strategies adopted by criminal groups. When governments attempt to control or repress their activities, criminal groups employ various tools and instruments that might be grouped into three categories: evasion, corruption, and confrontation. The paper draws on recent cases from Brazil and Mexico with respect to tactical and strategic choices by governments and criminal groups, seeking to address three broad questions. What factors disrupt the state-criminal group equilibrium? Under what circumstances do disruptions produce significant levels of violence (as opposed to evasion or corruption)? What are the implications for the quality of democracy as criminal groups violently confront the state?
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Mexico