Aníbal Pérez-Liñán and Scott Mainwaring, "Regime Legacies and Levels of Democracy: Evidence from Latin America"
During the third wave of democratization, all Latin American countries except Cuba have had competitive political regimes, but the quality or level of democracy has varied significantly across countries and over time. One of the best predictors of this variance across countries and time is each country’s experience with competitive politics before 1978. Even controlling for a wide range of other explanations, countries with more democratic heritages before 1978 have higher levels of democracy in the contemporary period. This finding, in turn, raises another question: what accounts for the effects of past levels of democracy on the post-1978 period? A hybrid fixed-effects model shows that democratic trajectories are institutionalized through political parties and judicial institutions. Countries that had institutionalized parties under democracy and supreme court justices who served under democracy in the pre-1978 period have been more able to build high-level democracy in the contemporary period.
Kathleen Bruhn, "Electing Extremists? Party Primaries and Legislative Candidates in Mexico"
When parties adopt internal elections to choose candidates, power shifts from party leaders to party activists. Some authors suggest that this results in more ideologically extreme candidates and helps party outsiders. However, based on surveys of legislative candidates in Mexico’s 2006 national elections, two findings are evident. First, candidates chosen via internal elections were significantly more moderate and more likely to be party insiders than candidates chosen by party leaders. Second, organizational dynamics explain these outcomes. Because in Mexico legislative primary elections get little media attention, candidates rely on factional networks to mobilize support. Successful candidates appeal across factional divisions, resulting in winners who are more moderate, but not less connected to the party.
Matthew S. Winters and Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro, "Lacking Information or Condoning Corruption? When Will Voters Support Corrupt Politicians?"
Why are citizens willing to cast ballots for corrupt politicians? On the one hand, voters may simply lack information about corruption. On the other hand, voters may knowingly overlook corruption when politicians otherwise perform well in office, delivering public goods to their constituents. Citizen responses to a nationwide survey in Brazil indicate that the vast majority of voters express a willingness to punish corrupt politicians, regardless of politician performance. High income voters form a partial exception to this overall rejection of corruption; they react less negatively to information about corruption and more strongly to information about competence than the general population. These findings imply that specific, credible, and accessible information will lead most voters to punish corrupt politicians at the polls.
Wouter Veenendaal, "Political Representation in Microstates: The Cases of St. Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, and Palau"
Recent research on political representation in new democracies indicates that the quality of representation in Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe is substandard when compared to the older, Western democracies. There are, however, theoretical reasons to presume that microstates form an exception to this rule, especially in light of the natural closeness between citizens and politicians in these states. On the basis of an in-depth, qualitative analysis of the characteristics and quality of political representation in the microstates of St. Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, and Palau, this expectation is rejected. Instead, it is found that the small-scale political dimensions of microstates engender a political environment that is marked by personalistic politics and the pervasiveness of various forms of particularism.
Jae-jin Yang, "Parochial Welfare Politics and the Small Welfare State in South Korea"
Why is the Korean welfare state underdeveloped? From the institutionalist point of view, it is evident that existing institutions influence the policy preferences of key actors of welfare politics: organized labor and employers on the demand side and politicians on the supply side. Distributive demands of organized labor have been satisfied by affluent big business (or chaebol) through an implicit or explicit cross-class alliance with parochial enterprise unions, and the nation’s single-member-district electoral rules have induced politicians to sell geographically targeted benefits rather than promising social welfare for all beyond their district. As a result, despite the nation’s successful economic growth and democratization, neither the supply nor the demand side has been conducive to significant welfare state expansion in Korea.
Erin Hern, "Perspectives on the Power and Persistence of States in Africa and Beyond"
State legitimacy is a concept that is frequently invoked, rarely defined, and notoriously difficult to pin down. The four books under review represent three schools of thought that dominate the scholarship on the legitimacy of the African state. The first approach relies on universal standards of governance to assess state legitimacy. The second attributes legitimacy to culturally specific understandings of appropriate forms of power, and the third uses institutional coherence to evaluate the legitimacy of state rules. While each approach contains insightful and convincing pieces of scholarship, no one provides a satisfying account of legitimacy and the state. A more holistic approach to state legitimacy as a dynamic, interactive process is needed.