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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