Political Institutions and the Policymaking Process in Latin America
- LAST MODIFIED: 26 February 2020
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0302
- LAST MODIFIED: 26 February 2020
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0302
The systematic study of how institutional rules and political practices influence the capacity of Latin American governments to adopt public policies is of relatively recent vintage. For decades, the fleeting and unstable democratic experiences in the region obfuscated the role of politics in the policymaking process. Policy analysis was more often than not motivated by the question of what governments should do rather what governments could do. With the restoration of democracy in Latin America in the 1980s, the view that a given set of “optimal policies” should or could be implemented against all political odds became untenable. In the ensuing decade, as the economic reforms inspired by the “Washington Consensus” swept the region, a growing concern with the timing, sequencing, and implementation of public policies materialized among both scholars and policymakers. This approach, however, proved insufficient to fully understand the political feasibility, but also the actual process by which public policies are discussed, approved, and implemented in the region. In the 2000s, a comprehensive, soul-searching research agenda about the politics of policies was launched by the leading development organizations, most notably, the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). Since then, a voluminous literature studying how different constitutional structures, legislative institutions, electoral rules, bureaucracies, partisan organizations, and Interest Groups influence public policies in Latin America has emerged. The following bibliography identifies some general topics, as well as several sources to consult within each topic, for those readers interested in how politics shape policies in Latin America
While there is a plethora of works on public policies as well as a large literature on Latin American politics, a distinctive set of contributions that focus on how political institutions affect the policymaking process in Latin American can be identified. These studies originate in the observation that in most countries, policies are so flagrantly at odds with technocratic prescriptions that the only way to understand this discrepancy is by delving into politics. Early studies like Grindle 1980 address how the content and the context of public policy affect its implementation. Following the theoretical framework laid out in Dixit 1996, much of the recent literature on policymaking processes and policy outcomes in Latin America focuses on the quality of public policies and the extent to which institutions facilitate or hinder intertemporal political cooperation and compromise. These works include Stein, et al. 2006; Spiller and Tommasi 2007; Stein, et al. 2008; and Díez and Franceschet 2012.
Díez, Jordi, and Susan Franceschet, eds. Comparative Public Policy in Latin America. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012.
This book offers a comprehensive examination into how to study public policy in Latin America. Specifically, the contributors refine current theories to suit Latin America’s contemporary institutional and socioeconomic realities. Special emphasis is placed on the features of the region that shape public policy, including informal norms and practices, social inequality, and weak institutions.
Dixit, Avinash. The Making of Economic Policy: A Transaction-Cost Politics Perspective. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996.
In this monograph, Avinash Dixit advocates the use of transaction cost perspective to improve understanding of politics of economic policymaking. While its focus is not placed in Latin American countries (Dixit uses US fiscal policy and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade as examples to illustrate his proposed framework), this book provides the theoretical foundation for most contemporary studies of how political institutions affect policymaking in the region.
Grindle, Merilee S., ed. Politics and Policy Implementation in The Third World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980.
This volume examines the disparity between goals and outcomes in the implementation of public policy in developing countries. It focuses on two questions: (1) what effect does the content of public policy have on its implementation and (2) how does the political context of administrative action affect policy implementation? Various scholars address these questions through a series of case studies from Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Zambia, Kenya, and India.
Payne, J. Mark, Daniel Zovatto, Mercedes Mateo Díaz, et al., eds. Democracies in Development: Politics and Reform in Latin America. Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank, 2007.
This volume examines how institutional features of democratic systems affect their functioning as well as the prospects for their consolidation. Specifically, the different contributions analyze the effects of institutions on the democratic process, identify regional trends in political reform, assess the value of reforms for enhancing democratic governance, and offer tentative conclusions on the types of reforms that may hold promise for strengthening democracy.
Scartascini, Carlos, Ernesto Stein, and Mariano Tommasi, eds. How Democracy Works: Political Institutions, Actors and Arenas in Latin American Policymaking. Washington, DC: IADB, 2010.
A companion volume to Stein, et al. 2008, this study brought together a team of economists and political scientists and country specialists. They focus on the main actors involved in Latin American policymaking. Following the framework developed in Spiller and Tommasi 2007, the analysis explores the roles of these players, their incentives and capabilities, and the way in which they actually engage in the policymaking game.
Spiller, Pablo T., and Mariano Tommasi. The Institutional Foundations of Public Policy in Argentina: A Transactions Cost Approach. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
This book develops a general model of public policymaking in the vein of Dixit 1996. It focuses on the difficulties of securing intertemporal exchanges among politicians. The authors develop and test a series of hypotheses about the conditions under which policies are likely to be volatile, rigid, or of high quality, using Argentina as their case study.
Stein, Ernesto, Mariano Tommasi, Koldo Echebarria, Eduardo Lora, and Mark Payne, coords. The Politics of Policies. Washington, DC: IADB, 2006.
This volume studies the quality of public policies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Numerous examples are presented in an analytical framework drawn from the pioneering work Dixit 1996 to help explain why policies that work in certain institutional environments may not work in others. The focus is not the content of policies, but rather the process by which these policies are discussed, approved, and implemented.
Stein, Ernesto, Mariano Tommasi, Pablo T. Spiller, and Carlos Scartascini, eds. Policymaking in Latin America. How Politics Shapes Policies. Washington, DC: IADB, 2008.
The chapters in this volume examine the politics of policies in Latin America. They focus on one broad question: what determines the capacity of countries to design, approve, and implement effective public policies? The book builds on the results of case studies that benefit from both micro detail on the intricacies of policymaking in individual countries and a broad cross-country interdisciplinary analysis of policymaking processes in the region.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Advanced Democracies, Electoral System Reform in
- Advanced Democracies, Public Opinion and Public Policy in
- Advertising and Election Campaigns in the United States
- Africa, Comparative Politics of
- Africa, Public Opinion in
- Africa, Women’s Political Representation in
- African Development, Politics of
- American Indian Politics
- Ancient Chinese Political Thought
- Arab Spring, The
- Arab-Israel Conflict, The
- Arendt, Hannah
- Argentine Government and Politics
- Aristotle's Political Thought
- Arms Race Modeling
- Asia, Water Politics in
- Asian American Mobilization and Political Identities
- Australia and New Zealand, Comparative Politics of
- Authoritarian Regimes, Lawyers in
- Authoritarianism in Russia
- Authoritarianism in the Public
- Authoritarianism in Turkey
- Bicameralism in Stable Democracies
- Big Data in Political Science Research
- Biopolitics and State Regulation of Human Life
- Birthright Citizenship
- Brazilian Foreign Policy
- Brazilian Political Development
- Brexit, British Politics, and European Integration
- Business-State Relations in Europe
- Campaign Finance in the Era of Super-PACS
- Canadian Foreign Policy
- Candidate Emergence and Recruitment
- Caribbean, Elections and Democracy in the
- Celebrities in US Politics
- Channels of Electoral Representation in Advanced Industria...
- China, Political Economy of
- China's One-Child Policy
- China-Taiwan Relations
- Chinese Communist Party
- Chinese Economic Policy
- Chinese Nationalism
- Civil Society in South Asia
- Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Civil-Military Relations in Asia
- Civil-Military Relations in Latin America
- Class in American Politics
- Climate Change and Politics
- Collective Memory
- Comparative Capitalism Theory
- Comparative Industrial Relations in Europe
- Comparative Political Economy of Resource Extraction
- Comparative Politics of Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bis...
- Comparative Politics of Chile and Uruguay
- Comparative Politics of Federalism
- Comparative Politics of the Middle East and North Africa
- Computational Social Science
- Congress, Defense, and Foreign Policy
- Congressional Reassertion of Authority
- Conservative Litigation Strategies and Groups in US Judici...
- Constitutional Politics in Asia
- Corruption in China
- Cosmopolitan Political Thought
- Crisis of European Integration in Historical Perspective, ...
- Critical Elections, Partisan Realignment, and Long-Term El...
- Critical Theory and the Frankfurt School
- Cuban Political Development
- Cycles of Protest
- Democracy and Authoritarianism, Empirical Indicators of
- Democracy and Authoritarianism in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Democracy and Dictatorship in Central Asia
- Democracy and Minority Language Recognition
- Democracy in Latin America
- Democratic Citizenship
- Democratic Consolidation
- Democratic Peace Theory
- Democratic Theory
- Democratization in Africa
- Democratization in Central America
- Democratization in Mexico
- Democratization in the Muslim World
- Development of Survey Research
- Diasporas and Politics
- Direct Democracy in the United States
- Dual Citizenship
- East Africa, Politics of
- East and Southeast Asia, Political Party Systems in
- East and Southeast Asia, Women and Politics in
- East Asia, Civil Society and Social Movements in
- Economic Voting
- Effects of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks on American Public O...
- Election Forecasting
- Election Laws in Democracies
- Election Observation and the Detection of Fraud
- Electoral and Party System Development in Sub-Saharan Afri...
- Electoral Assistance
- Electoral Change in Latin America
- Electoral Institutions and Women’s Representation
- Electoral Reform and Voting in the United States
- Electoral Volatility in the New Democracies of Latin Ameri...
- Electronic Voting Systems
- Emotion and Racial Attitudes in Contemporary American Poli...
- Environmental Governance
- Environmental Politics among Advanced Industrial Democraci...
- Ethnic Diasporas and US Foreign Policy
- Ethnic Politics
- Eurasia, Comparative Politics of
- European Parliament, The
- European Social Democracy
- European Union, Politics of the
- Extension of Voting Rights to Emigrants
- Failed and Weak States in Theory and Practice
- Far-Right Parties in Europe
- Federalism in the United States
- Feminist Political Thought
- Field Experiments
- Filibuster, The
- Framing Effects in Political Communication
- Gender and Electoral Politics in the United States
- Gender and International Relations
- Gender and Political Violence
- Gender and Politics in South Asia
- Gender, Behavior, and Representation
- Gender Gap in US Public Opinion
- Gender Stereotypes in Politics
- Genetic Underpinnings of Political Attitudes and Behaviors
- German Politics and Government
- Global Inequality
- Globalization and the Welfare State
- Globalization, Health Crises, and Health Care
- Governance in Africa
- Governmental Responses to Political Corruption
- Gridlock and Divided Government in the U.S.
- Health-Care Politics in the United States
- Historiography of Twentieth-Century American Conservatism,...
- Hobbes’s Political Thought
- Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of
- Hume’s Political Thought
- Hybrid Regimes
- Ideal Point Estimation
- Identity and Political Behavior
- Ideological Reasoning in Politics
- Illiberal Democracies and Democratic Backsliding
- Immigrant Incorporation in Canada
- Immigrant Incorporation in Western Europe
- Immigration and European Politics
- Immigration and International Relations
- Immigration Politics and Policy in the United States
- Impact of Campaign Contributions on Congressional Behavior...
- Impact of C-SPAN on US Democracy
- Implicit Attitudes in Public Opinion
- Income Dynamics and Politics in North America and Europe
- Income Inequality and Advanced Democracies
- Income Inequality in the United States, The Politics of
- Independent Voters, The Study of
- Indian Democracy
- Indigenous Politics and Representation in Latin America
- Indigenous Rights and Governance in Canada, Australia, and...
- Indonesia, Politics of
- Informal Practices of Accountability in Urban Africa
- Institutional Change in Advanced Democracies
- Institutional Factors Affecting Women’s Political Engageme...
- Intellectual Property in International Relations
- Interest Groups and Inequality in the United States
- Interest Groups in American Politics
- Interethnic Contact and Impact on Attitudes
- International Conflict Management
- International Criminal Justice
- International Law
- International NGOs
- International Political Economy of Illegal Drugs
- Internet and Politics, The
- Intersectionality in Political Science
- Interstate Border Dispute Management in the Indo-Pacific
- Iran, Political Development of
- Israeli Politics
- Italian Politics and Government
- Judicial Supremacy and National Judicial Review
- Judiciaries and Politics in East Asia
- Kant's Political Thought
- Labor Migration: Dynamics and Politics
- Labor Politics in East Asia
- Land Reform in Latin America
- Latin America, Democratic Transitions in
- Latin America, Electoral Reform in
- Latin America, Environmental Policy and Politics in
- Latin America, Guerrilla Insurgencies in
- Latin America, Social Movements in
- Legal Mobilization
- LGBT Politics in the United States
- Liberal Pluralism
- Local Governments in the United States
- Machiavelli’s Political Thought
- Malaysian Politics and Government
- Marx's Political Thought
- Mass Incarceration and US Politics
- Mechanisms of Representation
- Media Effects in Politics
- Media Politics in South Asia
- Mexican Political Development
- Minority Governments
- Minority Political Engagement and Representation in the Un...
- Mixed-Member Electoral Systems
- Modern Dynastic Rule
- Modern Elections and Voting Behavior in Europe
- Motivated Reasoning
- Narrative Analysis
- National Interbranch Politics in the United States
- NATO, Politics of
- Negative Campaigning
- Neoclassical Realism
- New Institutionalism Revisited, The
- North America, Comparative Politics of
- Oil, Politics of
- Online Public Opinion Polling
- Organized Criminal Syndicates and Governance in Mexico and...
- Origins and Impact of Proportional Representation, The
- Outcomes of Social Movements and Protest Activities
- Partisan and Nonpartisan Theories of Organization in the U...
- Partisan Polarization in the US Congress
- Partisan Polarization in the US Electorate
- Party Networks
- Party System Institutionalization in Democracies
- Peace Operations
- Personality and Politics
- Personalization of Politics
- Plato’s Political Thought
- Policy Feedback
- Policy Responsiveness to Public Opinion
- Political Ambition
- Political Economy of Financial Regulation in Advanced Ind...
- Political Economy of India
- Political Economy of Taxation, The
- Political Geography in American Politics
- Political Humor and Its Effects
- Political Institutions and the Policymaking Process in Lat...
- Political Obligation
- Political Parties and Electoral Politics of Japan
- Political Roles and Activities of Former Presidents and Pr...
- Political Thought, Hegel's
- Political Thought of the American Founders, The
- Politics and Policy in Contemporary Argentina
- Politics, Gender Quotas in
- Politics of Anti-Americanism
- Politics of Class Formation
- Politics of Disaster Prevention and Management
- Politics of Ethnic Identity in China
- Politics of Financial Crises
- Politics of Foreign Direct Investment in South Asia
- Politics of Higher Education in the U.S.
- Politics of Internal Conquest in the United States and Can...
- Politics of Japan
- Politics of Natural Disasters, The
- Politics of North Korea
- Politics of Science and Technology
- Politics of South Africa
- Politics of Southern Africa
- Politics of the American South
- Politics of the Philippines: From Rizal to Duterte
- Politics of the US-Mexico Border
- Populism in Latin America
- Positive and Negative Partisanship
- Postcolonial Political Theory
- Postcolonialism and International Relations
- Post-Communist Democratization
- Preferential Trade Agreements, Politics of
- Presidential Candidate Selection in Comparative Perspectiv...
- Presidential Persuasion and Public Opinion
- Presidential Primaries and Caucuses
- Private Governance
- Protest Participation
- Public Opinion in Affluent Democracies
- Public Opinion in Europe toward the European Union
- Public Opinion in New Democracies and Developing Nations
- Public Opinion on Immigration
- Public Opinion toward the Environment and Climate Change i...
- Public Presidency, US Elections, and the Permanent Campaig...
- Qualitative Methods, The Renewal of
- Race in American Political Thought
- Racial and Ethnic Descriptive Representation in the United...
- Recruitment and Selection for Elected Office
- Redistricting and Electoral Competition in American Politi...
- Referendums and Direct Democracy
- Regime Transitions and Variation in Post-Communist Europe
- Regional Integration
- Regional Integration in Latin America
- Regional Security
- Regulating Food Production
- Religion and Politics in Latin America
- Religion in American Political Thought
- Religion in Contemporary Political Thought
- Religion, Politics, and Civic Engagement in the United Sta...
- Rousseau’s Political Thought
- Rule of Law
- Russia and the West
- Science and Democracy
- Science and Social Movements
- Secession and Secessionist Movements
- Semi-Presidential Systems
- Social Networks, Mass Publics, and Democratic Politics
- Social Policy and Immigrant Integration
- South Asian Political Thought
- South Korea, Politics of
- Southeast Asian Politics
- Spectacle, The
- Sport and Politics
- State Building in Sub-Saharan Africa
- State Formation
- State, The Nature of the
- State-Society Relations in South Asia
- Stereotypes in Political Reasoning
- Supreme Court and Public Opinion
- Supreme Court of the United States, The
- Systemic Theories of International Politics
- Taiwan, Politics of
- Tea Party, The
- Thailand, Politics of
- The Crisis of European Integration in Historical Perspecti...
- The New Right in American Political Thought
- The Politics of Parenthood: Attitudes, Behavior, Policy, a...
- The Politics of Waste and Social Inequalities in Indian Ci...
- Third-Party Politics in the United States
- Tocqueville’s Political Thought
- Transboundary Pollution
- Transitional Justice
- Transnational Private Regulation
- Trust in Latin American Governing Institutions
- Turkey, Political Development of
- US Military Bases Abroad
- US Politics, Neoliberalism in
- US Presidency, The
- US Presidential Campaigns and Their Impact
- Venezuela, The Path Toward Authoritarianism in
- Voter Support for Women Candidates
- Voter Turnout
- Voter Turnout Field Experiments
- Voting Technology and Election Administration in the Unite...
- Welfare State Development
- Welfare State Development in Latin America
- Welfare State Development in Western Europe
- West Africa, Politics of
- White Identity Politics
- Women and Conflict Studies
- Women’s Inclusion in Executive Cabinets
- Women’s Legal and Constitutional Rights
- Women’s Political Activism and Civic Engagement in Latin A...
- Women’s Representation in Governmental Office in Latin Ame...
- Women’s Representation in the Middle East and North Africa
- Workers’ Politics in China
- Youth and Generational Differences in US Politics