Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-78bd46657c-jcldq Total loading time: 0.192 Render date: 2021-05-09T09:59:13.007Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

Democracy at Work: Moving Beyond Elections to Improve Well-Being

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 February 2017

MICHAEL TOUCHTON
Affiliation:
University of Miami
NATASHA BORGES SUGIYAMA
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
BRIAN WAMPLER
Affiliation:
Boise State University

Abstract

How does democracy work to improve well-being? In this article, we disentangle the component parts of democratic practice—elections, civic participation, expansion of social provisioning, local administrative capacity—to identify their relationship with well-being. We draw from the citizenship debates to argue that democratic practices allow citizens to gain access to a wide range of rights, which then serve as the foundation for improving social well-being. Our analysis of an original dataset covering over 5,550 Brazilian municipalities from 2006 to 2013 demonstrates that competitive elections alone do not explain variation in infant mortality rates, one outcome associated with well-being. We move beyond elections to show how participatory institutions, social programs, and local state capacity can interact to buttress one another and reduce infant mortality rates. It is important to note that these relationships are independent of local economic growth, which also influences infant mortality. The result of our thorough analysis offers a new understanding of how different aspects of democracy work together to improve a key feature of human development.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2017 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

Footnotes

The authors would like to thank John Ishiyama, the APSR Editorial Board, and four anonymous reviewers for their suggestions. Special thanks go to Merike Blofield, Laura Gómez-Mera, Evelyne Huber, Wendy Hunter, James W. McGuire, Jennifer Pribble, and Kurt Weyland for their valuable comments. Thanks also go to seminar participants at the University of Miami, Clemson University, Utah State University, and Arizona State University. Previous versions of this article were presented at annual meetings of The American Political Science Association, the Mid-West Political Science Association, the Southern Political Science Association, and the Latin American Studies Association; we thank our discussants and audience for their insightful questions. Claire Adida deserves special recognition in this regard. Thank you to Boise State University's School of Public Service, which provided funding to support this research.

References

Abers, Rebecca, and Keck, Margaret. 2013. Practical Authority. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Abrucio, Fernando, L. 2005. “A Coordenação Federativa no Brasil.” Revista de Sociologia e Política 24 (June): 4167.Google Scholar
Almeida, Carla, Cayres, Domitila Costa, and Tatagiba, Luciana. 2015. “Balanço dos Estudos Sobre os Conselhos de Políticas Públicas na Última Década.” Lua Nova 94 (April): 255–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ames, Barry. 2001. The Deadlock of Democracy in Brazil. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Aquino, Rosana, de Oliviera, Nelson F., and Bareto, Mauricio. 2009. “Impact of the Family Health Program on Infant Mortality in Brazilian Municipalities.” American Journal of Public Health 99 (1) (January): 8793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arellano, Manuel, and Bond, Stephen. 1988. Dynamic Panel Data Estimation Using PPD: A Guide for Users. London: Institute for Fiscal Studies.Google Scholar
Avelino, George, Brown, David, and Hunter, Wendy. 2005. “The Effects of Capital Mobility, Trade Openness, and Democracy on Social Spending in Latin America, 1980–1999.” American Journal of Political Science 49 (3) (July): 625–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Avritzer, Leonardo. 2002. Democracy and the Public Space in Latin America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Avritzer, Leonardo, and de Souza, Clóvis Leite. 2013. Conferências Nacionais: Atores, Dinâmicas Participativas e Efetividade. Brasília: IPEA.Google Scholar
Baiocchi, Gianpaolo, Heller, Patrick, and Silva, Marcelo Kunrath. 2011. Bootstrapping Democracy. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
Besley, Timothy, and Kudamatsu, Masayuki. 2006. “Health and Democracy.” The American Economic Review 96 (2) (May): 313–8.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Boix, Carles. 2001. “Democracy, Development, and the Public Sector.” American Journal of Political Science 45 (1) (January): 117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics. 2016. Survey of Basic Municipal Profiles. Retrieved January 1, 2016 (http://www.ibge.gov.br/home/estatistica/economia/perfilmunic/defaulttab1_perfil.shtm)Google Scholar
Brazilian Ministry of Health. 2016. “Portal da Saude: Datasus.” Retrieved January 1, 2016 (http://www2.datasus.gov.br/DATASUS/index.php?area=0205).Google Scholar
Brazilian Ministry of Social Development. 2016. “MDS: Bolsa Família.” Retrieved January 1, 2016 (http://www.mds.gov.br/assuntos/bolsa-familia).Google Scholar
Brown, David, and Hunter, Wendy. 2004. “Democracy and Human Capital Formation Education Spending in Latin America, 1980 to 1997.” Comparative Political Studies 37 (7) (September): 842–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cameron, Colin, and Trivedi, Pravin. 2009. Microeconometrics Using Stata. College Station, TX: Stata Press.Google Scholar
Cleary, Matthew. 2007. “Electoral Competition, Participation, and Government Responsiveness in Mexico.” American Journal of Political Science 51 (2) (April): 283–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cornwall, Andrea, and Coelho, Vera Schatten. 2007. Spaces for Change? Vol. 4. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
Dahl, Robert. 1971. Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Diamond, Larry. 1999. Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation. Baltimore: JHU Press.Google Scholar
Diaz-Cayeros, A., Estevez, F., and Magaloni, B. 2016. The Political Logic of Poverty Relief: Electoral Strategies and Social Policy in Mexico. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Diener, Ed, Lucas, Richard, Schimmack, Ulrich, and Helliwell, John. 2009. Well-Being for Public Policy. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dollar, David, and Kraay, Aart. 2001. Trade, Growth, and Poverty. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, Development Research Group, Macroeconomics and Growth.Google Scholar
Drèze, Jean, and Sen, Amartya. 2013. An Uncertain Glory. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dryzek, John. 2000. Deliberative Democracy and Beyond. Oxford University Press on Demand.Google Scholar
Eakin, Marshall. 1997. Brazil: The Once and Future Country. New York: St. Martin's Press.Google Scholar
Evans, Peter, and Heller, Patrick. 2015. “Human Development, State Transformation, and the Politics of the Developmental State.” In Oxford Handbook on Transformation of the State. New York: Oxford University Press, 691714.Google Scholar
Faguet, Jean-Paul. 2004. “Does Decentralization Increase Government Responsiveness to Local Needs?: Evidence from Bolivia.” Journal of Public Economics 88 (3) (March): 867–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ferraz, Claudio, and Finan, Federico. 2011. “Electoral Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from the Audits of Local Governments.” American Economic Review 101 (4) (April): 1274–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ferreira, Francisco. 2010. “Distributions in Motion: Economic Growth, Inequality, and Poverty Dynamics.” World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5424.Google Scholar
Fiszbein, Ariel, and Schady, Norbert. 2009. Conditional Cash Transfers. Washington: World Bank.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fox, Jonathan. 2015. “Social Accountability: What does the Evidence Really Say?World Development 72 (August): 346–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
French, Jan. 2013. “Rethinking Police Violence in Brazil: Unmasking the Public Secret of Race.” Latin American Politics and Society 55 (4): 161–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Frey, Bruno, and Stutzer, Alois. 2002. Happiness and Economics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Fung, Archon, and Wright, Erik Olin. 2003. Deepening Democracy. New York: Verso.Google Scholar
Gerring, John, Knutsen, Carl Henrik, Skaaning, Svend-Erik, Teorell, Jan, Coppedge, Michael, Staffin, I. Lindberg, and Matthew Maguire. 2015. “Electoral Democracy and Human Development.” V-Dem Institute Working Paper 9.Google Scholar
Gibson, Edward. 2013. Boundary Control. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Giraudy, Agustina. 2013. “Varieties of Subnational Undemocratic Regimes: Evidence from Argentina and Mexico.” Studies in Comparative International Development 48 (1) (March): 5180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grindle, Merilee. 2007. Going Local. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Gurza, Lavalle, Jessica Voigt, Adrian, and Serafim, Lizandra. Forthcoming. “Afinal o que Fazem os Conselhos: Padrões Decisórios e o Debate dos Efeitos das Instituições Participativas.” Dados.Google Scholar
Hagopian, Frances. 1996. Traditional Politics and Regime Change in Brazil. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hilbe, Joseph. 2007. Negative Binomial Regression, 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Huber, Evelyne. 1996. “Options for Social Policy in Latin America: Neoliberal versus Social Democratic Models.” In Welfare States in Transition, ed. Esping-Andersen, Gosta. London: SAGE, 141–91.Google Scholar
Huber, Evelyne, and Stephens, John. 2012. Democracy and the Left. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hunter, Wendy, and Sugiyama, Natasha Borges. 2014. “Transforming Subjects into Citizens: Insights from Brazil's Bolsa Família.” Perspectives on Politics 12: 4 (December): 829–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ipeadata. “Pobreza – Pessoas Pobres, Pessoas Indigentes.” 2016. IPEA. Retrieved April 1, 2016 (http://www.ipeadata.gov.br).Google Scholar
Khandker, Shahidur, Koolwal, Gayatri, and Samad, Hussain A.. 2010. Handbooks on Impact Evaluation. Washington, D.C.: World Bank Publications.Google Scholar
King, Gary, Keohane, Richard, and Verba, Sidney. 1994. Designing Social Inquiry. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Kohli, Atul. 2004. State-directed Development. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kosack, Stephen. 2012. The Education of Nations: How the Political Organization of the Poor, not Democracy, led Governments to Invest in Mass Education. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lake, David, and Baum, Matthew. 2001. “The Invisible Hand of Democracy: Political Control and the Provision of Public Services.” Comparative Political Studies 34 (6) (August): 587621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lamounier, Bolivar, and Meneguello, Rachel. 1986. Partidos Políticos e Consolidação Democrática. São Paulo: Editora Brasiliense.Google Scholar
Lindert, Kathy, Linder, Anja, Hobbs, Jason, and de la Brière, Bénédicte. 2007. “The Nuts and Bolts of Brazil's Bolsa Família Program: Implementing Conditional Cash Transfers in a Decentralized Context,” SP Discussion Paper No. 0709. World Bank.Google Scholar
Lustig, Nora, Lopez-Calva, Luis, and Ortiz-Juarez, Eduardo. 2013. “Declining Inequality in Latin America in the 2000s: The Cases of Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico.” World Development 44 (April): 129–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Macinko, James, Guanais, Frederico, and de Souza, Maria de Fatima. 2006. “Evaluation of the Impact of the Family Health Program on Infant Mortality in Brazil, 1990–2002.” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 60 (1) (January): 13–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mainwaring, Scott. 1999. Rethinking Party Systems in the Third Wave of Democratization. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
Marshall, Thomas. 1950. Citizenship and Social Class. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.Google Scholar
McGuire, James. 2010. Wealth, Health, and Democracy in East Asia and Latin America. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McNulty, Stephanie. 2011. Voice and Vote: Decentralization and Participation in Post-Fujimori Peru. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
Mettler, Suzanne. 2007. Soldiers to Citizens. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Nussbaum, Martha. 2011. Creating capabilities. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O'Donnell, Guillermo. 1998. “Horizontal Accountability in New Democracies.” Journal of Democracy 9 (3) (July): 112–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ostrom, Elinor. 1996. “Crossing the Great Divide: Coproduction, Synergy, and Development.” World Development 24 (6) (June): 1073–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pateman, Carole. 2012. “Participatory Democracy Revisited.” Perspectives on Politics 10 (1) (March) 719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Peruzzotti, Enrique, and Smulovitz, Catalina. 2000. “Societal Accountability in Latin American.” Journal of Democracy 11 (4) (October): 147–58.Google Scholar
Pierson, Paul. 1993. “When Effect becomes Cause: Policy Feedback and Political Change.” World Politics 45 (04) (July): 595628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pires, Roberto. 2011. Efetividade das Instituições Participativas no Brasil. Brasilia: IPEA.Google Scholar
Pires, Roberto, and Vaz, Alexander. 2012. Participação Social como Método de Governo? Um Mapeamento das" Interfaces Socioestatais" nos Programas Federais. Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (IPEA) Working Paper No. 1707.Google Scholar
Pitkin, Hanna. 1967. The Concept of Representation. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Pogrebinschi, Thamy, and Samuels, David. 2014. “The Impact of Participatory Democracy: Evidence from Brazil's National Public Policy Conferences.” Comparative Politics 46 (3) (April): 313–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Power, Timothy. 2010. “Optimism, Pessimism, and Coalitional Presidentialism: Debating the Institutional Design of Brazilian Democracy.” Bulletin of Latin American Research 29 (1) (January): 1833.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Przeworski, Adam, Alvarez, Michael, Cheibub, Jose, and Limongi, Fernando. 2000. Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Material Well Being in the World. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Przeworski, Adam, Stokes, Susan, and Manin, Bernard, eds. 1999. Democracy, Accountability, and Representation Vol. 2. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Putnam, Robert, Leonardi, Robert, and Nanetti, Raffaela. 1994. Making Democracy Work. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Rasella, Davide, Aquino, Rosana, Santos, Carlos, Paes-Sousa, Rômulo, and Barreto, Mauricio. 2013. “Effect of a Conditional Cash Transfer Programme on Childhood Mortality: A Nationwide Analysis of Brazilian Municipalities.” The Lancet 382 (9886) (July): 5764.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ravallion, Martin, and Chen, Shaohua. 2007. “China's (Uneven) Progress against Poverty.” Journal of Development Economics 82 (1) (January): 142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rodrik, Dani. 2000. “Growth versus Poverty Reduction: A Hollow Debate.” Finance and Development 37 (4) (December): 89.Google Scholar
Roodman, David. 2014. “xtabond2: Stata Module to Extend xtabond Dynamic Panel Data Estimator.” Statistical Software Components. Google Scholar
Ross, Michael. 2006. “Is Democracy Good for the Poor?American Journal of Political Science 50 (4) (October): 860–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rueschemeyer, Dietrich, Stephens, Evelyne Huber, and Stephens, John D.. 1992. Capitalist Development and Democracy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Samuels, David J. 2003. Ambition, Federalism, and Legislative Politics in Brazil. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sandbrook, Richard, Edelman, Marc, Heller, Patrick, and Teichman, Judith 2007. Social Democracy in the Global Periphery. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schramm, Joyce Mendes, and Szwarcwald, Celia Landmann. 2000. “Diferenciais nas Taxas de Mortalidade Neonatal e Natimortalidade Hospitalares no Brasil: Um Estudo com Base do Sistema Único de Saúde (SIH/SUS).” Caderno Saúde Pública 16 (October): 1031–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sen, Amartya. 1999. Development as Freedom. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
Skocpol, Theda. 1995. Protecting Soldiers and Mothers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Smulovitz, C., and Peruzzotti, E. 2000. Societal Accountability in Latin America. Journal of Democracy, 11 (4), 147158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Snyder, Richard. 2001. “Scaling Down: The Subnational Comparative Method.” Studies in Comparative International Development 36 (1) (March): 93110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Soares, Fábio Veras, Ribas, Rafael Perez, and Osório, Rafael Guerreiro. 2010. “Evaluating the Impact of Brazil's Bolsa Família: Cash Transfer Programs in Comparative Perspective.” Latin American Research Review 45 (2): 174–90.Google Scholar
Somers, Margaret. 2008. Genealogies of Citizenship. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Speck, Bruno. 2011. “Auditing Institutions” in Corruption and Democracy in Brazil. Power, Timothy and Taylor, Matthew, Eds. South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
Sugiyama, Natasha Borges. 2013. Diffusion of Good Government. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
Sugiyama, Natasha Borges, and Hunter, Wendy. 2013. “Whither Clientelism?Comparative Politics 46 (1) (October): 4362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tarrow, Sidney. 1998. Power in Movement. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Teichman, Judith. 2004. “The World Bank and Policy Reform in Mexico and Argentina.” Latin American Politics and Society 46 (1) (April): 3974.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tendler, Judith. 1997. Good Government in the Tropics. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Touchton, Michael, and Wampler, Brian. 2014. “Improving Social Well-Being Through New Democratic Institutions.” Comparative Political Studies 47 (10) (September): 1442–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2015. “Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Retrieved January 1, 2016 (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld/publication).Google Scholar
Viana, Ana Luiza, and dal Poz, Mario Roberto. 1998. “A Reforma do Sistema de Saúde no Brasil e o Programa de Saúde da Família.” PHYSIS: Revista Saúde Coletiva, 8 (2): 1142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wampler, Brian. 2015. Activating Democracy. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
Weyland, Kurt. 1996. Democracy without Equity. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
Wood, Charles. 1977. “Infant Mortality Trends and Capitalist Development in Brazil: The Case of São Paulo and Belo Horizonte.” Latin American Perspectives 47 (4): 5665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wooldridge, Jeffrey M. 2013. Introductory Econometrics, A Modern Approach, 5th ed. Nelson Education.Google Scholar
World Bank. 2016. “Gini Index.” Washington, D.C.: World Bank Indicators. Retrieved January 1, 2016 (http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.POV.GINI/countries?display=default).Google Scholar
World Health Organization. 2016. “Global Health Observatory.” WHO. Retrieved January 1, 2016 (http://www.who.int/gho/child_health/mortality/neonatal_infant_text/en/).Google Scholar
Yashar, Deborah. 2005. Contesting Citizenship in Latin America. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Xue, Jinjun. 2012. Growth with Inequality. Singapore: World Scientific Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: File

Touchton supplementary material

Appendix

Download Touchton supplementary material(File)
File 41 KB

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Democracy at Work: Moving Beyond Elections to Improve Well-Being
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Democracy at Work: Moving Beyond Elections to Improve Well-Being
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Democracy at Work: Moving Beyond Elections to Improve Well-Being
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *