Journal of Politics in Latin America, vol 2, nº 1, 2010
Delegation, Presidential Regimes, and Latin American Regulatory Agencies
Jacint Jordana, Carles Ramió
During the 1990s, a large number of regulatory agencies were created or reformed in different sectors in Latin American countries. Almost all included political delegation mechanisms, intended as formal rules to enhance credible commitments to time-consistent policies. In this paper, using an original data set of agencies’ head tenure in the telecommunications and finance regulatory agencies, we discuss if these mechanisms worked as planned, and find a divergence between actual mandates and the formally established fixed terms, effected by means of systematic early resignations. Our findings reveal, however, some consistent patterns of behavior. Stronger legislative presidential power reduced effective delegation to some extent, and agencies’ organizational strengths protected them from patronage. We also confirmed the existence of some significant differences between the two sectors examined. Having slightly weaker delegation rules, delegation practices were also less effective in telecommunications than in financial services, contrary to expectations about credible commitments.
Presidential Support in a Context of Crisis and Recovery in Peru, 1985-2008
Moisés E. Arce, Julio F. Carrión
Largely due to the theoretical weight given to the role of economic crisis, the existing literature on presidential approval in Peru offers a variety of competing explanations about the factors that account for presidential support. These competing explanations share one bond: they emphasize the absence of traditional economic voting. We argue here that the diversity of interpretations and empirical findings stem from the high degree of volatility experienced by economic indicators, and the failure of existing research to account for the time-dependent variance of presidential popularity. We analyze the impact of economic performance and key political events on the determination of presidential approval in Peru for the period 1985-2008 using an Exponential Generalized Autoregressive Conditional Heteroskedasticity (EGARCH) model. Our findings suggest that the effects of economic conditions on presidential approval approximate more traditional economic voting postures than previously thought. To the extent that crisis-ridden economic conditions in Peru have helped to theorize the alleged departures from traditional economic voting, the country is an ideal case to revisit standing propositions in the literature, particularly in a moment when those crisis-ridden economic conditions have disappeared.
Let’s Blame Everyone: Executive and Legislative Evaluations of Economic Performance in Brazil and Chile
Lucio Renno, Wladimir Gramacho
In this paper we bring together institutional, contextual, and behavioral perspectives in a comprehensive model that explores determinants of executive and legislative approval based on economic performance in Brazil and Chile. Our main question is, do voters attribute responsibility for the state of the economy to their representatives in the Legislative Branch as they apparently do to officeholders in the Executive Branch? We search for answers to this question with an eye on how active the distinct branches of government are in economic policy-making and voters’ levels of political sophistication. Our main hypothesis is that less sophisticated voters will blame politicians indiscriminately for the state of the economy, independent of how influential each branch of government is on economic policy. More sophisticated voters will better discern the role each branch plays in economic policy-making and will not blame representatives in the Legislative Branch for the state of the economy when Congress is not active in economic policy-making. The cases of Brazil and Chile under Cardoso and Lagos offer the perfect opportunity to test this hypothesis, which is confirmed by our data.
Business, Economic Experts, and Conservative Party Building in Latin America: The Case of El Salvador
A wave of leftist governments has swept Latin America in recent years, attracting a great deal of scholarly attention. Yet a number of new conservative parties have attained considerable electoral success, as well. This paper argues that a conservative party can succeed electorally and consolidate organizationally when it is supported by two strong groups in society: the business community and the neoliberal technocrats. To assess the argument, I explore the successful trajectory of the rightist Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA) in El Salvador. I then evaluate the generalizability of the argument by comparing ARENA’s trajectory with another conservative party in the region, Unión Demócrata Independiente (UDI) in Chile. In addition to proposing a new theory for conservative party success in Latin America, the paper calls for the revival of socioeconomic explanations in political science.
From the Boardroom to the Chamber: Business Interests and Party Politics in Mexico
Steve T Wuhs
One of the lesser-acknowledged conclusions from analyses of the third wave of democratization relates to the importance of conservatives to democratic consolidation. Yet we know very little about the way that such interests are incorporated into the formal, institutional arena of parties and elections – especially as relates to business interests. This is true in spite of a clear, cross-regional rise in the presence of entrepreneurs themselves in politics. This article generates and evaluates a set of expectations for the political behavior of business interests. I focus my empirical attention on Mexico, where such interests are historically speaking very well organized internally, and analyze the incorporation of business-association members into the parliamentary delegation of Mexico’s three major political parties. I conclude by considering where we might look for the political mobilization of business interests in the interest of establishing a research agenda for the future.
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