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  • 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: 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: 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: J. Samuel Valenzuela
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Since the 1960s, the sociology of development has drawn its explanations for the inadequate development of Latin American countries from culturalist paradigms, such as modernization theory, or macro-structural ones, like the dependency perspective. Setting such perspectives aside, this paper seeks to reinvigorate a sociological focus on development by arguing that it requires “social fundamentals”—and not only the economic and political ones that have taken center stage in recent discussions of this topic. Such social fundamentals have to do primarily with the synergies that are generated between properly designed welfare institutions and the characteristics of a nation's families.
  • Topic: Development, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America, Sweden, Chile
  • Author: Eduardo Zimmermann
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The present paper addresses several issues raised by the evolution of the electoral institutions and practices developed in nineteenth-century Argentina, and the role they played in the country's further political development. On the basis of the pioneering works of a new political history, two features of that historical process are considered in particular: first, an early consolidation of democratic principles born out of a widely shared perception of egalitarian social conditions prevalent in the River Plate provinces; second, the development of political and electoral practices that over time were to militate against the establishment of “classical” institutions of political representation. Many of the features of nineteenth-century Argentine electoral life, which would shape a particular democratic culture in the twentieth century, are thus seen as the result of a particular historical combination of early egalitarian politics with weak institutions rather than as a reflection of a strategy of exclusion and control by ruling elites or some vague “antidemocratic” cultural legacy.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America