Analysts and policymakers often decry the failure of institutions to accomplish their stated purpose. Bringing together leading scholars of Latin American politics, this volume helps us understand why. The volume offers a conceptual and theoretical framework for studying weak institutions. It introduces different dimensions of institutional weakness and explores the origins and consequences of that weakness. Drawing on recent research on constitutional and electoral reform, executive-legislative relations, property rights, environmental and labor regulation, indigenous rights, squatters and street vendors, and anti-domestic violence laws in Latin America, the volume's chapters show us that politicians often design institutions that they cannot or do not want to enforce or comply with. Challenging existing theories of institutional design, the volume helps us understand the logic that drives the creation of weak institutions, as well as the conditions under which they may be transformed into institutions that matter.
James Mahoney - Northwestern University
John M. Carey - Wentworth Professor in the Social Sciences, Dartmouth College
Deborah J. Yashar - Princeton University