Regime Legacies and Variance in the Level of Democracy: Latin America, 1978-2004

23 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 28 Aug 2010

See all articles by Aníbal Pérez Liñán

Aníbal Pérez Liñán

University of Notre Dame

Scott Mainwaring

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

In this paper we analyze the level of democracy achieved by 19 Latin American countries after 1977, in the period between the transitions from authoritarian rule and 2004. Our study shows enduring regime legacies: we create novel indicators to show that democratic and authoritarian trajectories are institutionalized through political parties. Despite authoritarian interruptions in the past, one of the best predictors of the current level of democracy is the country’s experience with competitive politics during the “first” (1900-44) and the “second” (1945-77) waves (and counter waves) of democratization. We document the impact of regime legacies using a fixed-effects vector decomposition model. Our finding modifies theoretical claims about “path dependence” in democratization and leads us to the concept of institutional reproduction as a the causal mechanism underpinning regime legacies.

Keywords: democratization, Latin America, party institutionalization, regime legacies, institutional reproduction

JEL Classification: C33

Suggested Citation

Pérez Liñán, Aníbal and Mainwaring, Scott, Regime Legacies and Variance in the Level of Democracy: Latin America, 1978-2004 (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1643065

Aníbal Pérez Liñán (Contact Author)

University of Notre Dame

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

Scott Mainwaring

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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