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  • Author: Emilia Simison
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper studies the territorial scope of the bills presented by members of the Chamber of Deputies (the lower chamber of the Argentine National Congress) during Juan Domingo Perón’s first two terms in office (1946–1955). Its main objective is to observe the effect that modifying the electoral system (switching from incomplete party ballots in multimember districts to relative majorities in single-member districts) had on that scope. Experimental techniques (an interrupted time-series and a within-subjects design) are used to analyze a novel database including every bill presented in the Chamber of Deputies during the period in question. Contrary to theoretical expectations, an increase is observed in the share of bills with a territorial scope that goes beyond deputies’ districts – especially for those presented by legislators from the opposition and from larger provinces. In addition, by separately analyzing the effect on the ruling party and the opposition, the paper uncovers a plausible explanation for previous nonconclusive findings.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Domestic politics, Legislation, Local
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Malu A.C. Gatto, Timothy J. Power
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: We examine the distribution and consequences of postmaterialist value orientations among national legislators in Brazil. Using data collected in the Brazilian Legislative Survey in 2013, we undertake the first systematic study of postmaterialism within the National Congress and the party system and map the materialist/postmaterialist scale onto other salient divisions within the political class. We present five main findings. First, political elites evince vastly higher commitment to postmaterialism than the mass public. Second, Brazilian political elites drawn from constituencies with higher human development are more postmaterialist than their counterparts in other constituencies. Third, within the political class, the materialist/post- materialist cleavage overlaps in important ways with the left–right cleavage. Fourth, although postmaterialism successfully predicts elite attitudes on a number of “new politics” issues that are unrelated to the construction of the postmaterialist scale itself, postmaterialism is a poor predictor of voting behavior on the Congressional floor. Fifth, as others before us, we find institutional factors to be better predictors of legislative voting behavior in the Brazilian context.
  • Topic: Legislation, Elites, Postmaterialism , Political Class
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Jean Francois Mayer
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The literature addressing market dynamics typically assumes that reforming labor legislation has a direct impact on economic perfor- mance, the configuration of labor markets, and the strength of labor organizations. Within this literature one prevalent school of thought advocates flexibilizing labor laws as the key to creating economic pros- perity, enhancing labor productivity, increasing formal sector employ- ment, and successfully fighting poverty and socioeconomic inequality. I test these assumptions by analyzing the case of Brazil between 1995 and 2010. My findings suggest that reforms seeking to flexibilize the Brazilian labor code do not significantly change the country’s labor market or economy. I propose that transformations in international economic con- texts as well as differing policy orientations of successive Brazilian feder- al governments may hold more explanatory power in accounting for labor market changes during this time period.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Reform, Employment, Legislation
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Ivan Juca, Marcus Andre Melo, Lucio Renno
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: While corruption is widely disapproved of, some corrupt poli- ticians continue to win elections. We tackle this paradox by examining the effects of malfeasance scandals in politicians’ behavior. In particular, we focus on their campaign finance strategies and career choices. We explore these issues empirically with an original dataset that includes all lower-house members of Congress (MCs) in Brazil from 1995 to 2010. Although tainted incumbents tend to be penalized electorally, we show that campaign spending attenuates this effect. These results are robust, controlling for a host of potential confounders and biases. Hence, we offer a first exploration of incumbents’ strategies to avoid the electoral cost of their publicized wrongdoings. Above a certain threshold of fund- ing, Brazilian members of Congress become impervious to negative exposure, regardless of the severity of their ethical and/or criminal viola- tions. These results carry important normative consequences in terms of regulating campaign financing as a means of improving accountability.
  • Topic: Corruption, Legislation, Campaign Finance , Scandals
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Monica Pachon, Gregg B. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines committee behavior in Colombia to determine whether parties or coalitions exert agenda-setting powers despite the fact that the formal rules seemingly create little incentive for cooperation. Colombia’s party system is extremely fragmented, electoral volatility is high, and there is a long history of candidate-centered elec- toral rules, all of which suggests that party and coalition leaders have few tools to control the legislative agenda. Additionally, chairs do not directly control committee reports as in other presidential cases. However, the naming of ponentes (rapporteurs) to write ponencias (bill reports) for the committee may give leaders the opportunity to set the agendas in com- mittees. Hence, we test whether committee chairs strategically name ponentes to control the agenda and favor their partisan or coalition inter- ests. We test these ideas using a unique dataset covering two complete legislative sessions and thousands of bills. Overall, we find that commit- tee chairs use the ponente process to set the agenda and privilege legisla- tion sponsored by allies, especially the executive.
  • Topic: Politics, Legislation, Decentralization , Party System
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Latin America