Strategic Choice Models of Political Change in Latin America

Comparative Politics, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 229-243, January 1992

15 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2011 Last revised: 25 Mar 2016

See all articles by David Collier

David Collier

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Political Science

Deborah L. Norden

Whittier College

Date Written: January 1, 1992

Abstract

The article assesses the use of strategic choice models in the study of Latin American politics. These models explore how given actors pursue goals by shaping the context in which other actors make choices. The discussion centers on Hirschman’s analysis of “reform-mongering,” Przeworski’s “threshold” model of transitions to democracy, and O’Donnell’s model of democratic consolidation. Basic components of the models are examined, including the definition of actors, preference distributions, coalitional thresholds, perceptions of the likelihood of given outcomes, and efforts to change actual and perceived costs of these outcomes. The relationship between such models and more familiar perspectives in the Latin American field is then explored. The models have a distinctive emphasis on uncertainty and the creative use of uncertainty by political leaders; yet they also have much in common with other research traditions. The article advocates eclecticism in employing these alternative analytic approaches.

Suggested Citation

Collier, David and Norden, Deborah L., Strategic Choice Models of Political Change in Latin America (January 1, 1992). Comparative Politics, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 229-243, January 1992. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1747294

David Collier (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Political Science ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Deborah L. Norden

Whittier College ( email )

13406 Philadelphia St
Whittier, CA 90608
United States

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