The Partisan Foundations of Legislative Particularism in Latin America

32 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2007

See all articles by Andrés Mejía-Acosta

Andrés Mejía-Acosta

University of Sussex - Institute of Development Studies

Aníbal Pérez Liñán

University of Notre Dame

Sebastian M. Saiegh

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: November 2006

Abstract

In this paper we argue that organizational practices within parties, more than national electoral rules, shape legislators' incentives to initiate particularistic (narrow in scope and distributive in nature) legislation. We test this argument using a new dataset which comprises 1,906 bills initiated by the lower chamber in Paraguay (1992-2003) and 5,175 bills initiated by congress in Ecuador (1979-2002). We estimate the propensity of legislators to initiate particularistic bills as a function of district magnitude, the existence of closed lists, seniority, the size of the party, reelection rules, and the internal procedures employed by the party to nominate candidates. Our hypothesis is supported by the analysis. Ecuador, a highly fragmented party system with "amateur" legislators, is usually cited as a case where we should expect most bills to be distributive. However, once we control for strong party leaders, we see that their presence offsets the impact of candidate-centered electoral rules. Paraguay, on the other hand, has a relatively weak president and a closed-list PR system. Thus, it is usually seen as a case where strong parties and few particularistic bills should prevail. However, in practice, the fragmentation of parties into competitive factions has encouraged the proliferation of particularistic bills.

Keywords: Electoral Rules, Paricularistic Legislation, Candidate Selection, Ecuador, Paraguay

Suggested Citation

Mejía-Acosta, Andrés and Pérez Liñán, Aníbal and Saiegh, Sebastian M., The Partisan Foundations of Legislative Particularism in Latin America (November 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1018099 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1018099

Andrés Mejía-Acosta

University of Sussex - Institute of Development Studies ( email )

Brighton
Falmer, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 9RE
United Kingdom

Aníbal Pérez Liñán

University of Notre Dame

Department of Political Science
2060 Jenkins Nanovic Halls
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States

Sebastian M. Saiegh (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

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