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Corruption and Democracy in Latin America

Edited by Charles H. Blake and Stephen D. Morris

Publication Year: 2009

Corruption has blurred, and in some cases blinded, the vision of democracy in many Latin American nations. Weakened institutions and policies have facilitated the rise of corrupt leadership, election fraud, bribery, and clientelism. This book presents a groundbreaking national and regional study that provides policy analysis and prescription through a wide-ranging methodological, empirical, and theoretical survey. The contributors offer analysis of key topics, including: factors that differentiate Latin American corruption from that of other regions; the relationship of public policy to corruption in regional perspective; patterns and types of corruption; public opinion and its impact; and corruption's critical links to democracy and governance. Additional chapters present case studies on specific instances of corruption: diverted funds from a social program in Peru; Chilean citizens' attitudes toward corruption; the effects of interparty competition on vote buying in local Brazilian elections; and the determinants of state-level corruption in Mexico under Vicente Fox.The volume concludes with a comparison of the lessons drawn from these essays to the evolution of anticorruption policy in Latin America over the past two decades. It also applies these lessons to the broader study of corruption globally to provide a framework for future research in this crucial area.

Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press

Series: Pitt Latin American Series


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pp. 5

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pp. 10-31

Corruption—usually defined as a violation of the norms of public office for personal gain (Nye 1967)—captures news headlines and the imagination, especially in a democracy. Since the celebrated return of democratic rule to most....

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Chapter1: Democracy, Economic Policy, and Political Corruption in Comparative Perspective

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pp. 34-54

A vibrant literature on political corruption has emerged in recent years. As reviewed in the prior chapter, much of this work has consisted of cross-national, statistical analysis, while other studies have adopted a qualitative case study and comparative approach. Fewer have employed region-specific quantitative approaches.1 Among the ...

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Chapter2: The Crisis of the Democratic State

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pp. 55-68

During the 1980s, most Latin American countries experienced third-wave democratization. Formal democracies were inaugurated through competitive elections and full-fledged respect for political freedoms.1 creeping signs of political corruption, a malaise threatening democratic legitimacy. Democratic inauguration gave way to constitutional ...

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Chapter3: Corruption and Democratic Governability

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pp. 69-85

Corruption regularly appears among the top five problems cited in opinion polls in most Latin American countries. Along with violence, crime, inequality, and institutional weaknesses, it figures prominently in contemporary scholarly work on quality of democracy as well.,,,

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Chapter4: Why Do Corrupt Governments Maintain Public Support?

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pp. 86-102

Since the early 1990s there has been a growing awareness worldwide of the pernicious consequences that political corruption has on economic growth and public support for democratic institutions. In some cases, people’s...

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Chapter5: Public Attitudes toward Corruption

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pp. 103-116

Corruption has become an increasingly visible political issue in the early twenty-first century, corruption scandals culminated in the premature end of some chief executives’ mandates—including Fernando Collor de Mello in Brazil, Fernando de la Rúa in Argentina, Alberto Fujimori in Peru, Jamil Mahuad in Ecuador, and ...

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Chapter6: Local Accountability and the Peruvian Vaso de Leche Program

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pp. 120-139

Decentralization has become a dominant mantra in many development programs throughout the world. The reasoning seems sound enough. The larger the government unit, the more remote it is from popular control, the less accountable it will become. To solve the problem, decentralization...

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Chapter7: Evaluating Citizen Attitudes about Corruption in Chile

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pp. 140-158

In 2002 and 2003, a series of corruption scandals erupted in Chile— including the bribery of legislators and government officials to obtain licenses for vehicle refitting plants, sobresueldos (overpayments) to public officials, and the use of the Public Works Ministry (MOP) to raise campaign funds.

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Chapter8: Corruption, Accountability Reforms, and Democracy in Brazil

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pp. 159-177

Over the past decade, the developmental effects of corruption have assumed a central role for academics and policy practitioners at both the local and national level, as well as within multinational institutions such as regional development banks and the World Bank. Corruption is no longer seen as a potentially beneficial instrument ...

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Chapter9: Corruption and Democracy at the State Level in Mexico

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pp. 178-201

Analysts have long acknowledged the prevalence of political corruption in Mexico. Most associated the corruption of the twentieth century with Mexico’s unique one-party hegemonic, authoritarian regime. With the PRI monopolizing control of all levels of government, the Mexican president and a powerful state operated virtually ...

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Conclusion: Scholarly Avenues and Policy Directions for the Twenty-first Century

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pp. 202-212

Corruption and impunity remain prevalent in Latin America despite democratization and recent anticorruption reforms. In turn, the resilience of corruption is buoyed by the perception (and the reality) of enduring impunity: relatively few government officials face serious sanctions....


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pp. 214-227


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pp. 228-252


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pp. 254-257


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pp. 258-262


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pp. 264


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pp. 265

E-ISBN-13: 9780822973553
E-ISBN-10: 0822973553
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822960232
Print-ISBN-10: 0822960230

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Pitt Latin American Series