Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xi

One day in 1989, I heard that the municipal-level votes received by candidates for Brazilian congressional seats had been recorded on a computer tape. Though the tape included only the votes of winning candidates and covered just two elections in a handful of states, I thought the data might help me understand the workings of Brazil’s unusual electoral system. One step led to another. The...

Glossary of Major Political Parties

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pp. xiii-xiv

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Introduction

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pp. 1-37

Imagine the following puzzle: A formally democratic nation confronts, over many years, crises of inflation, government waste and corruption, pension system deficits, inadequate social services, violence, and social inequality. Substantial majorities of the population support proposals dealing with these crises. In the legislature, few parliamentarians oppose the proposals because of...

Part 1. The Electoral System: Rules, Politicians, and Parties

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1. Elections and the Politics of Geography

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pp. 41-76

This chapter explains the workings of Brazil’s electoral system, focusing, in a broad sense, on accountability—that is, on the link between representatives and voters. Brazil’s electoral system is extremely permissive. It gives congressional deputies extremely wide latitude in the kinds of winning electoral coalitions...

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2. Campaign Strategy under Open-List Proportional Representation

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pp. 77-97

How do electoral systems influence ultimate political outcomes? Electoral rules and structures encourage certain kinds of people to choose political careers. Electoral rules also motivate people who are already politicians to act in particular ways. To understand how an electoral system affects the composition of...

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3. The Evolution of Electoral Support, 1978–94

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pp. 98-107

Brazilian states, as we have seen, play central parts in the drama of national politics. States vary greatly, however, in their ability to influence national politics. Any given state’s influence depends in large part on its ability to convert economic strength into national power, a conversion that itself depends on the...

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4. History Matters: The Interaction of Social Structure and Political Events

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pp. 108-135

In the introduction I suggested that in Latin America rational choice models will need broadening before they can explain real political outcomes. 1 One promising direction is Douglass North’s (1990, 94) conception of path dependence: “The consequence of small events and chance circumstances can determine solutions that, once they prevail, lead one...

Part 2. The Legislative Arena

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5. Wheeling, Dealing, and Appealing: What Motivates Deputies?

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pp. 139-157

At the beginning of this book, I argued that the Brazilian Congress has trouble approving laws on issues of national concern. The legislative branch almost never initiates significant laws. While the Congress does acquiesce in many presidential proposals, final approval of these bills carries a high price in pork, patronage, and substantive...

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6. Presidential Coalition-Building Strategies

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pp. 158-186

In many political systems, including those whose presidents and legislatures are independently elected, chief executives confidently count on the backing of their parliaments in all except the most extreme circumstances. Not so in Brazil, where presidents must continually battle to secure legislative support. This chapter explores the strategies presidents adopt in this struggle. These...

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7. Party Discipline in the Chamber of Deputies

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pp. 187-223

The previous chapter explored the strategies Brazilian presidents adopt as they strive to construct bases of legislative support. To understand the president’s efforts at legislative coalition building, this chapter moves to the Congress itself, seeking to comprehend the role of legislative parties in the context of Brazil’s institutional structure...

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8. Procedures, Parties, and Negotiations in a Fragmented Legislature

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pp. 224-266

This chapter focuses on the legislative process. Why, in the study of legislatures, is process important? The previous chapter focused on political parties’ role as organizers of deputies with shared electoral and policy interests. If party leaders’ recommendations totally determine deputies’ legislative choices, policy outcomes would be no more than the sum of ballots, weighted by the size of each...

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Conclusion

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pp. 267-292

This conclusion has four tasks. Its starting point is a brief summary of the book’s findings. The discussion then moves to the argument’s broader ramifications. I begin by considering the price Brazil pays for dysfunctional political institutions, spotlighting the economic crisis triggered by the Asian and Russian debacles of 1997. I suggest that President...

Appendixes

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pp. 293-305

References

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pp. 307-319

Index

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pp. 321-331