Corruption and Democracy in Latin America

Corruption and Democracy in Latin America

CHARLES H. BLAKE
STEPHEN D. MORRIS
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 256
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qh6n2
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    Corruption and Democracy in Latin America
    Book Description:

    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.Corruption and Democracy in Latin Americapresents 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.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7355-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Introduction Political and Analytical Challenges of Corruption in Latin America
    (pp. 1-22)
    STEPHEN D. MORRIS and CHARLES H. BLAKE

    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 of Latin America beginning in the 1980s, scandals involving sitting or former presidents, governors, ministers, and other top government officials have rocked virtually every country in the region. The more spectacular cases have featured illegal campaign funds and expenditures; presidents bribing members of congress for their votes; the illegal sale of arms by top government and military officials; multimillion-dollar graft, fraud, kickbacks, and bribes...

  4. PART I CAUSES AND IMPACTS OF CORRUPTION IN LATIN AMERICA
    • 1 Democracy, Economic Policy, and Political Corruption in Comparative Perspective
      (pp. 25-45)
      STROM C. THACKER

      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 myriad factors that influence levels of political corruption around the world, recent studies have examined in greater depth the impact of political institutions and public policies on political corruption. This chapter employs a quantitative methodology and a cross-national data set to examine both global patterns and the manner in which Latin America fits...

    • 2 The Crisis of the Democratic State
      (pp. 46-59)
      ALFREDO REHREN

      During the 1980s, most Latin American countries experienced thirdwave democratization. Formal democracies were inaugurated through competitive elections and full-fledged respect for political freedoms.¹ However, many Latin American democracies subsequently showed creeping signs of political corruption, a malaise threatening democratic legitimacy. Democratic inauguration gave way to constitutional accusations and the impeachment of presidents Fernando Collor de Mello in Brazil and Abdalá Bucaram in Ecuador. In Venezuela, the corruption of the political class undermined a once stable democracy, brought the downfall of Carlos Andrés Pérez, and catapulted Hugo Chávez to power. Systemic corruption in Mexico unleashed unrestrained power struggles and political crimes...

    • 3 Corruption and Democratic Governability
      (pp. 60-76)
      JOHN BAILEY

      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. Researchers have made considerable progress in measuring aspects of corruption and in linking these to reduced support for regimes and policies as described in the introduction. But to this point, much of the work employs rather blunt categories and focuses on specific pieces of the broader problem complex, usually with little attention to how the pieces might fit together. We need to...

    • 4 Why Do Corrupt Governments Maintain Public Support?
      (pp. 77-93)
      LUIGI MANZETTI and CAROLE J. WILSON

      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 outrage has resulted in the impeachment of presidents (Brazil, Peru, Ecuador) and the resignation of prime ministers (Italy, Germany, Japan) or their outright demotion (the Philippines, Indonesia, Georgia). Although the international press has highlighted such events as landmarks in the fight against corruption, much less attention has been paid to the fact that to this day a score of politicians with tarnished reputations still succeed in winning office...

    • 5 Public Attitudes toward Corruption
      (pp. 94-108)
      CHARLES H. BLAKE

      Corruption has become an increasingly visible political issue in Latin America in the contemporary era. During the 1990s and 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 Carlos Andrés Pérez in Venezuela. Past presidents from the same time period faced formal corruption investigations in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela. More recently, corruption allegations have prompted cabinet changes in the Ricardo Lagos government...

  5. PART II NATIONAL CASE STUDIES OF CORRUPTION
    • 6 Local Accountability and the Peruvian Vaso de Leche Program
      (pp. 111-130)
      JOSÉ R. LÓPEZ-CÁLIX, MITCHELL A. SELIGSON and LORENA ALCÁZAR

      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 is advocated by many policy analysts as the best way of putting control (back?) into the hands of the people, where public officials will be held accountable, and where public funds have the greatest chance of responding to local needs and local conditions. Moreover, at the local level, where citizens can observe the actions of public officials firsthand,...

    • 7 Evaluating Citizen Attitudes about Corruption in Chile
      (pp. 131-149)
      ADAM BRINEGAR

      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. These events unfolded in the least corrupt country in Latin America, according to Transparency International’s 2005 Bribe Payer’s Index (BPI) (see fig. 7.1). While the scandals were relatively minor by Latin American standards—involving sums of just $13,500 and $20,000 compared to $5 million in a Senate bribery scandal in Argentina (see Bermúdez and Gasparini...

    • 8 Corruption, Accountability Reforms, and Democracy in Brazil
      (pp. 150-168)
      MATTHEW M. TAYLOR

      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 of economic and political development: an ample consensus exists that corruption does not grease the wheels of developing economies but rather creates distortions in policy choices, worsens the investment climate, and reduces overall societal well-being (e.g., Kaufmann, Kraay, and Zoido-Lobaton 1999; Lederman, Loayza, and Soares 2005; Mauro 1995; Rose-Ackerman...

    • 9 Corruption and Democracy at the State Level in Mexico
      (pp. 169-192)
      STEPHEN D. MORRIS

      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 free of political constraints. Mechanisms of horizontal and vertical accountability were severely limited. Neither the courts, the congress, state and local governments, the bureaucracy, nor elections did much to check or to balance the power of the federal executive. Political opposition faced restrictions, the press was muzzled, and corporatist arrangements tied much of civil society...

  6. Conclusion Scholarly Avenues and Policy Directions for the Twenty-first Century
    (pp. 193-204)
    CHARLES H. BLAKE and STEPHEN D. MORRIS

    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. This combination of robust corruption and continuing impunity has corrosive implications for those striving to extend the scope of democratic rule and to build a more just society.

    The resilience of corruption highlights the desire to devise better solutions to the corruption problem, which, in turn, points to the need for better analytical tools to enhance our understanding of this thorny issue....

  7. NOTES
    (pp. 205-218)
  8. REFERENCES
    (pp. 219-244)
  9. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 245-248)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 249-253)