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Democracies and Dictatorships in Latin America
Emergence, Survival, and Fall


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  • Date Published: April 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521190015

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About the Authors
  • This book presents a new theory for why political regimes emerge, and why they subsequently survive or break down. It then analyzes the emergence, survival and fall of democracies and dictatorships in Latin America since 1900. Scott Mainwaring and Aníbal Pérez-Liñán argue for a theoretical approach situated between long-term structural and cultural explanations and short-term explanations that look at the decisions of specific leaders. They focus on the political preferences of powerful actors - the degree to which they embrace democracy as an intrinsically desirable end and their policy radicalism - to explain regime outcomes. They also demonstrate that transnational forces and influences are crucial to understand regional waves of democratization. Based on extensive research into the political histories of all twenty Latin American countries, this book offers the first extended analysis of regime emergence, survival and failure for all of Latin America over a long period of time.

    • Adopts a pioneering approach to studying political actors over a long historical period (1944–2010) for an intermediate number of countries (twenty)
    • Presents a systematic explanation for the surge of regional waves of democratization that is relevant to understand historical events in Eastern Europe and current trends in the Middle East
    • Carefully examines alternative explanations for the emergence, survival and fall of democracies and dictatorships
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    • Winner of the 2014 Donna Lee Van Cott Book Award, Political Institutions Section, Latin American Studies Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Democracies and Dictatorships in Latin America takes a comprehensive look at regime change in that region, explaining the surprising endurance of democracy there since the 1970s. Through a parsimonious yet comprehensive theory of democratization that is contrasted with other theories, Professors Mainwaring and Pérez-Liñán provide analysis that will revive interest in these topics. Well organized and well written, this timely book will be of interest to scholars, analytically oriented lay readers, and policy makers alike.' William R. Keech, Research Professor of Political Economy, Duke University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521190015
    • length: 368 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.64kg
    • contains: 18 b/w illus. 25 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. A theory of regime change and durability
    3. Competitive regimes and authoritarianism in Latin America, 1900–2010
    4. Regime survival and fall: a quantitative test
    5. From breakdowns to stabilization of democracy: Argentina
    6. From persistent authoritarianism to democracy: El Salvador
    7. International actors, international influences, and regime outcomes
    8. The limits of the third wave, 1978–2010
    9. Rethinking theories of democratization.

  • Authors

    Scott Mainwaring, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
    Scott Mainwaring is the Eugene and Helen Conley Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. His research interests include democratic institutions, democratization, and political parties and party systems. Among his previous books are Rethinking Party Systems in the Third Wave of Democratization: The Case of Brazil (1999), The Third Wave of Democratization in Latin America: Advances and Setbacks (co-edited, Cambridge University Press, 2005), The Crisis of Democratic Representation in the Andes (co-edited, 2006) and Democratic Governance in Latin America (co-edited, 2010). Mainwaring is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2007, he was listed as one of the 400 most cited political scientists teaching in the United States.

    Aníbal Pérez-Liñán, University of Pittsburgh
    Aníbal Pérez-Liñán is an Associate Professor of Political Science and a member of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. His research focuses on democratization, political institutions, and the rule of law in new democracies. He is the author of Presidential Impeachment and the New Political Instability in Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and has published articles in the Journal of Politics, World Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Politics, and Electoral Studies, among other journals. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development and the Inter-American Development Bank.


    • Winner of the 2014 Donna Lee Van Cott Book Award, Political Institutions Section, Latin American Studies Association
    • Co-Winner of the 2014 Best Book Award, Comparative Democratization Section, American Political Science Association

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