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  • Author: Juan Andrés Moraes
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Polarization has been always identified as a problem for Latin American democracies. Yet its determinants remain largely undertheorized and without systematic evidence. This paper tackles this shortcoming with a new explanation where polarization is conceptualized as a mobilizational tool used by parties to deliver unequivocal signals to voters about their location in the policy space. The explanation holds that Parties’ strategies depend on the electoral context in which they compete, making volatility a crucial indicator of their behavior. Low-volatility contexts inhibit parties from seeking polarization due to potential electoral punishments by voters and the internal costs of programmatic change within the party organization. High volatility, however, increases the risk of electoral survival, decreasing the costs of seeking polarization. Here, volatility makes polarization more likely. Using time-series cross-sectional regression analysis for eighteen Latin American countries for 1995–2010, this paper provides robust statistical results to support the causal link between electoral volatility and polarization.
  • Topic: Democratization, Demographics, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Fabrice Lehoucq
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of civil war on regime change. It focuses on Central America, a region where several countries underwent transitions to democracy in the wake of civil war during the second half of the twentieth century. It argues that armed conflict, not increasing levels of economic development, led to political change. Violence liquidated stubbornly resilient autocracies in El Salvador and Nicaragua, catalyzed the democratization of Costa Rican politics, and was the backdrop to regime liberalization in Guatemala. Postwar negotiations, at a time when Cold War bipolarity was ending, led to the establishment of more open, civilian regimes on the isthmus. This paper also notes that the transition from autocracy was enormously costly in both lives and economic well-being, which helps to explain why political change has given birth to low-quality democracies or mixed regimes on the isthmus, ones that also have witnessed the explosion of criminal and drug-related violence.
  • Topic: Civil War, Crime, Democratization, Development, Regime Change, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Rodrigo Zarazaga
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Previous works on vote-buying have highlighted that an informational advantage allows party machines to efficiently distribute discretionary transfers to voters. However, the microfoundations that allow party machines to electorally exploit their informational advantage have not yet been elucidated. The probabilistic model in this paper provides the microfounded mechanism that explains how party machines translate their informational advantage into more efficient allocation of discretionary transfers and win elections with higher probabilities than their contenders. Furthermore, its probabilistic design allows the model to account for why party machines target their own supporters with discretionary transfers. In-depth interviews with 120 brokers from Argentina motivate the model.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Argentina
  • Author: Tiffany Barnes
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Over the last two decades a large number of countries worldwide have adopted a gender quota to increase women's political representation in the legislature. While quotas are designed to achieve equality in legislative power and decision-making, it is unclear if electing more women to legislative office is sufficient to accomplish institutional incorporation. Once women are elected to office, are they being incorporated into the legislative body and gaining their own political power, or are they being marginalized? Using an original data set that tracks committee appointments in the twenty-two Argentine legislative chambers over an eighteen-year period, I evaluate the extent to which women have access to powerful committee appointments—beyond traditional women's domains committees—and how women's access to committee appointments changes over time. I hypothesize that while women may initially be sidelined, as they gain more experience in the legislature they may overcome institutional barriers and develop institutional knowledge that will better equip them to work within the system to gain access to valuable committee appointments.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Gender Issues, Politics
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Sam Handlin
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: What are the causes and implications of polarization in new democracies? During Latin America’s “Left Turn” period, highly polarized party systems emerged in some countries–Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and El Salvador–but not the rest of the region. This paper proposes a theory to explain variation, centered on the presence of electorally relevant parties of the left in the pre-Left Turn period and, most critically, the quality of governance in that period. Poor governance created opportunities for partisan actors on the left to politicize a second dimension of political contestation, anti-systemic versus systemic positions on the design and operation of the state, and thus chart alternative paths to electoral viability that required little left-right programmatic moderation. This dynamic empowered radical party factions and drove polarizing dynamics in party systems. High quality governance, in contrast, gave left parties little choice but to moderate their programs in search of electoral viability. This dynamic empowered moderate party factions and drove centripetal dynamics in party systems. Empirically, the paper tests these arguments through a broad overview of the case universe and in-depth case studies of Venezuela and Brazil.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Benjamin Junge
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes Brazil's 2002 presidential and gubernatorial election-campaign discourse, identifying recurrent themes and modes of appeal within campaign discourses. In an introductory section, the conceptual and methodological framework is mapped out, drawing from "anthropology of politics" and media studies scholarship. In this context, a framework for analyzing campaign rhetoric's appeals to a gendered subject and a regional (gaucho) subject is presented. Historical background is provided for the political context and stakes of the 2002 elections, followed by an overview the different types of media used in the campaigns. The analysis proper examines the rhetoric of the presidential campaigns (principally that of leftist Workers Party candidate Luiz In á cio "Lula" da Silva), followed by analysis of the Rio Grande do Sul gubernatorial campaigns. In the concluding section, the argument is presented that the citizen-subject implicit in the official discourses of the Lula campaign is individualist for its concern over everyday-life struggles, nationalist for its concern over the country's well-being, and universalist for its concern with moral justice. For the gubernatorial campaigns, discursive appeal is constructed with heavy recourse to the "timeless tradition" of authentic (and symbolically masculine) gauchismo.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Economy, Mass Media, Governance
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Tiago Fernandes
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper explains variations in patterns of civil society among third-wave democracies by comparing the cases of Portugal and Spain. In the former a civil society developed that had a tendency to be more oriented toward national issues and politics, whereas in the latter civil society tended to be more local, social, and disconnected from politics. Portugal, although having both a less developed economy and historically a weaker democratic tradition than Spain's, was a democracy that between the early 1970s and the mid-1990s offered more opportunities for the organized civic expression of popular interests.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Human Rights, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain, Portugal
  • Author: Juliana Martínez Franzoni, Diego Sánchez-Ancochea
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: How are universal social programs built in countries on the periphery, where resources are more limited and initial inequalities higher than any ever seen in OECD countries? Historically it has been very difficult, and even those countries that committed themselves to serious welfare efforts did so with stratified, rather than universal, transfers and services. Yet there have been some exceptions, and Costa Rica ranks among the most successful. The bottom-up expansion of social security, along income/class rather than occupational lines, was very important in the creation of a basic floor of benefits among the low and low-middle salaried population. Gradually, the middle and upper-middle groups were later on brought on board as well, in sharp contrast with the rest of the region where social insurance was shaped for and according to the preferences of various middle-class groups.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Poverty, Social Stratification, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Daniel Kselman
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: What effect do a country's electoral institutions have on its economic policy? While past research has emphasized the policy consequences of majoritarian as opposed to proportional electoral formulae, this paper emphasizes a country's ballot structure and, in particular, whether or not its electoral rules allow citizens to cast intraparty candidate votes. I first develop a theoretical framework that yields a set of original predictions linking intraparty voting rules to the incidence of political corruption, the emphasis on redistributive social policy, and the overall size of the state. Empirical tests then confirm that intraparty voting rules exert a significant and reductive effect on the incidence of political corruption but that they do not undermine the production of egalitarian fiscal policy. Taken together, the paper's theoretical and empirical results should contribute to broader normative debates about the viability of decentralized and personalistic forms of democratic accountability.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Economics, Social Stratification
  • Author: Eduardo Posada-Carbó
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: By focusing on its electoral role, this paper revises some of the prevailing views regarding the Catholic Church's impact on the politics of Colombia between 1830 and 1930. To this aim, the paper offers a brief general overview of the Church during the period, in an attempt to locate its sources of power. Then, I look at the place the religious cleavage had in the formation of the party system that emerged in the republic by the mid-nineteenth century. Next, I examine the various ways in which the Church was involved in the electoral process both before and after the emergence of the party system. Finally, the concluding section considers the wider implications that such involvement might have represented for the history of democracy in Colombia. Overall, the paper addresses the following questions: What had the historical role of the Catholic Church been in the politics of Colombia since independence? How did the Church—the hierarchy, the clergy and the laity—relate to the electoral history and partisan divisions of the country? And to what extent did the involvement of the Church in electioneering enhance or hinder the process of democratization over this century?
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Manuel Alcántara
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper addresses from a comparative perspective the national elections (legislative and presidential) held between 2009 and 2011 in seventeen Latin American countries. There are five key issues that guide this analysis: the institutional conditions of electoral competition, the electoral offer, election results, party systems, and post-electoral executive-legislative relations. The political consequences of these electoral processes—except perhaps in the cases of Honduras and Nicaragua, where some minor negative trends have arisen—reveal a pattern of apparent normality and political alternation, with a change in the presidential elite and winning proposals that were articulated via institutions. The paper concludes by outlining how countries in the region have successfully overcome challenges of a varying nature and importance, that until recently generated a degree of uncertainty in their respective political systems.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Nicaragua, Honduras
  • Author: Matthew C. Ingram
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Existing research shows that the ideas of judges matter for judicial behavior both on the bench (decision making) and off the bench (lobbying and mobilization for institutional change). Yet there is little empirical evidence regarding the content and distribution of these ideas and even less evidence and fewer theoretical propositions regarding the manner in which ideas transfer or diffuse among judges. Addressing these empirical and theoretical gaps, I survey judges in the Mexican state of Michoacán and apply techniques of network analysis. The project makes four main contributions: (1) original data on the attitudes of judges regarding prominent institutional and jurisprudential changes shaping the legal landscape in Mexico; (2) egocentric data on network structure for the sampled judges; (3) sociocentric data on network structure at the level of judicial district, state supreme court, and entire state generated by aggregating the egocentric data; and (4) a mixed-methods analysis of the causal relationship between network features and judicial attitudes, drawing on egocentric methods, sociocentric methods, and personal interviews with focal individuals. Complementing literatures on political socialization, policy diffusion, and complex systems, the analysis clarifies our understanding of the role of judicial networks in strengthening democracy and the rule of law.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Political Economy, Governance, Law Enforcement, Law
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Cecilia Martinez-Gallardo
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper proposes and tests a theory about the strategic use of cabinet appointments by executives in presidential systems. The theory argues that cabinet turnover plays a crucial role in bargaining between the legislature and the executive over policy. In the context of fixed terms, the power to change the cabinet allows presidents to face unexpected shocks and use cabinet rotation to adjust their governments to new political and policy environments. This resource is even more important when presidents' formal authority is weaker and when their political support and popularity decrease. I use data on cabinet changes in twelve Latin American countries between 1982 and 2003 to test the main arguments of the theory.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Theory, Governance
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Joseph Wright
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Does economic crisis lead to authoritarian regime breakdown and democratization? In this paper, I argue that the availability of exit options for citizens conditions the relationship between economic crisis and democratization. Where citizens have more viable exit alternatives, economic crisis causes citizens to exit rather than protest, making democratization less likely. I measure exit options in three ways: a geographic instrument for bilateral trade; neighboring country GDP per capita; and past net migration. I use time series, cross - section data on up to 122 authoritarian regimes in 114 countries from 1946 – 2002 to test this argument and find evidence consistent with the hypothesis that more attractive exit options insulate dictators from the liberalizing effects of economic crisis.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Government, Political Theory, Financial Crisis, Authoritarianism
  • Author: Nina Wiesehomeier
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: During recent years the so-called left turn across the Latin American continent has stimulated research seeking to explain this resurgence, accompanied by a lively debate about distinct variants of the left, broadly conceived as “good” and “bad,” social democratic and populist. This paper goes beyond this simplistic distinction: It explores the substantive policy content of left and right in Latin American countries using original expert survey data of policy positions of political parties and presidents in 18 countries and furthermore compares these left-right estimates with results from elite surveys. The examples discussed underscore the need to take policy positions on particular policy dimensions into account and show that caution is recommended in the use of the general left-right axis.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Carlos Gervasoni, Scott Mainwaring, Annabella España-Nájera
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In this paper, we analyze the remarkable differences in the electoral success of new and young parties in fifty-eight countries in the Post World War II period. We hope to make three contributions. First, we present and test a new theoretical argument about the electoral success of new parties, or conversely about the “frozenness” of party systems, in competitive political regimes. In the short to medium term, poor performance by governing parties facilitates the electoral success of new contenders. In the long term, new parties have more opportunities for garnering votes in post-1978 democracies because of the sequencing of party building and opportunities created by modern mass media, especially television. Second, we introduce the concepts of extra-system volatility (or the vote share of new parties) and the vote share of young parties. These concepts are useful complements to the established focus on total electoral volatility. Two countries with similar levels of total volatility can have very different levels of extra-system volatility, signaling divergences in voters' willingness to flee from existing parties and different levels of dissatisfaction with the existing parties. Third, we present information on volatility, extra-system volatility, the vote share of young parties, and within-system volatility in 58 countries for an extended period of time. The historic and geographic scope of the dataset is useful for an empirical mapping and for testing our theoretical arguments about the variance in the “frozenness” of party systems or, conversely, about the electoral success of new and young parties.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Governance
  • Author: Carlos Guevara Mann, Brittmarie Janson Pérez
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Most countries of Latin America lived through long dictatorships before transitioning to democracy in the late twentieth century. Who keeps the spirit of resistance alive during bleak periods of intense repression? Who reaffirms the principles of democracy when they are violated with impunity? In Panama, a clandestine weekly titled El Grito (The Cry), published during the first four years of the military dictatorship installed in 1968, became a reliable source of information, a vehicle of protest, and a mouthpiece of democratic education. Never divining that those responsible for the clandestine publication were women, the military regime was unable to stop it. Uncovering unknown details of the weekly, this paper retrieves the effort made by a small group of middle-class women who did not identify with any political party and had no financial support other than their own limited resources. We suggest that attention be paid to the actors—often from relegated social groups—who keep the spirit of protest alive in countries during long periods of political repression. We show that, contrary to general expectations, those occupying subordinate positions in society may have an advantage in carrying out resistance activities against authoritarian regimes.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Rachel Beatty Riedl
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper asks (a) how to understand the development of new institutions in nascent democracies, and (b) what explains the persistence of institutional forms that do not conform to rationalist expectations of competitive efficiency. Much scholarship focuses on the power of strategic coordination under formal rules to shape democratic institutions, such as the form of the party system. This article contends that strict rationalist explanations of party systems leave unexplored the ways in which individual politician's and voter's strategic calculations are bounded by the organizational imperatives of systemic competition. Sociological theories of institutional development better explain the organizational logic driving party system origin and endurance in new democracies. The article uses original interview data from three contrasting cases of party system development in Africa to highlight the empirical puzzle that drives this conclusion: despite seemingly analogous democratic origins, largely similar conditions of low economic development, high ethnic heterogeneity, and weak state capacity, as well as comparable formal electoral rules in pairwise combinations, the party systems across Africa demonstrate incredible cross-national variation in the ways in which political parties organize and compete for power. Additionally, party systems maintain these varied forms over time rather than converging on a “most efficient” model. A focus on the particular mechanisms of reproduction through institutional isomorphism contributes to the research agenda of explaining institutional development, change, and stability.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Theory, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Daniel Corstange
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Who supports illiterate voting rights? In the diverse societies of the developing world, suffrage restrictions on illiterate people can have both class and ethnic ramifications because illiteracy correlates with poverty and often with ethnic group membership. I demonstrate how examining the overlap of ethnic population distributions helps to identify individuals for whom satisfying material interests comes at the expense of identity interests and vice-versa. The salience of ethnicity in public discourse requires people to articulate identity demands that may be inconsistent with their material interests, opening up the possibility that what they say and what they think will diverge systematically. Empirically, I use an augmented list experiment in Lebanon to distinguish between superficial and sincere support for illiterate voting rights. I show that a direct question yields a sectarian answer in which Shiites are more supportive of those rights than are Sunnis or Christians, whereas an unobtrusive question produces an answer about material deprivation in which poor people are more supportive of illiterate voting than rich people.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: Miriam Kornblith
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines four related aspects of the recall of elected officials as defined and used in Venezuela: 1) The context in which the recall emerged; 2) the activation of the presidential recall throughout 2003 and 2004, which concluded with the recall referendum of August 15, 2004; 3) the legal and substantive aspects of the recall; 4) the assessment of the use of the recall. The purpose of the paper is to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of this instrument of direct democracy from the Venezuelan experience.
  • Topic: Democratization, Governance, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Venezuela