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This article accounts for the role that partisan divisions played in shaping variation in mass preferences for market-oriented policies in Latin America during the 1990s. Most of the existing studies on attitudes toward market reforms have focused on issues such as the timing of reforms, the presence of economic crises, and how economic performance shaped citizens' preferences. Fewer studies have investigated whether partisan cleavages translated into divergent preferences toward market reforms. Were there systematic differences between left- and right-wing voters in their preferences toward market reforms? Did left-wing voters oppose these policies and right-wing voters favor them? Which of these structural transformations—state retrenchment or trade liberalization—witnessed greater mass polarization along partisan lines? This article answers these questions with the use of a mass survey on public opinion about market reforms conducted by Mori International in eleven Latin American countries in 1998.
How can societies restrain their coercive institutions and transition to a more humane criminal justice system? We argue that two main factors explain why torture can persist as a generalized practice even in democratic societies: weak procedural protections and the militarization of policing, which introduces strategies, equipment, and mentality that treats criminal suspects as though they were enemies in wartime. Using a large survey of the Mexican prison population and leveraging the date and place of arrest, this paper provides causal evidence about how these two explanatory variables shape police brutality. Our paper offers a grim picture of the survival of authoritarian policing practices in democracies. It also provides novel evidence of the extent to which the abolition of inquisitorial criminal justice institutions—a remnant of colonial legacies and a common trend in the region—has worked to restrain police brutality.
State interventions against organized criminal groups (OCGs) sometimes work to improve security, but often exacerbate violence. To understand why, this article offers a theory about criminal governance in five types of criminal regimes—Insurgent, Bandit, Symbiotic, Predatory, and Split. These differ according to whether criminal groups confront or collude with state actors, abuse or cooperate with the community, and hold a monopoly or contest territory with rival OCGs. Police interventions in these criminal regimes pose different challenges and are associated with markedly different local security outcomes. We provide evidence of this theory by using a multimethod research design combining quasi-experimental statistical analyses, automated text analysis, extensive qualitative research, and a large-N survey in the context of Rio de Janeiro’s “Pacifying Police Units” (UPPs), which sought to reclaim control of the favelas from criminal organizations.
To fight criminal organizations effectively, governments require support from significant segments of society. Citizen support provides important leverage for executives, allowing them to continue their policies. Yet winning citizens' hearts and minds is not easy. Public security is a deeply complex issue. Responsibility is shared among different levels of government; information is highly mediated by mass media and individual acquaintances; and security has a strong effect on peoples' emotions, since it threatens to affect their most valuable assets—life and property. How do citizens translate their assessments of public security into presidential approval? To answer this question, this study develops explicit theoretical insights into the conditions under which different dimensions of public security affect presidential approval. The arguments are tested using Mexico as a case study.
Poverty relief programs are shaped by politics. The particular design which social programs take is to a large extent determined by the existing institutional constraints and politicians' imperative to win elections. The Political Logic of Poverty Relief places elections and institutional design at the core of poverty alleviation. The authors develop a theory with applications to Mexico about how elections shape social programs aimed at aiding the poor. Would political parties possess incentives to target the poor with transfers aimed at poverty alleviation or would they instead give these to their supporters? Would politicians rely on the distribution of particularistic benefits rather than public goods? The authors assess the welfare effects of social programs in Mexico and whether voters reward politicians for targeted poverty alleviation programs. The book provides a new interpretation of the role of cash transfers and poverty relief assistance in the development of welfare state institutions.