Institutional Invention and Democracy in Latin America
By (author) Merilee Serrill Grindle
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Audacious Reforms by Merilee Serrill Grindle
Book DescriptionAudacious Reforms examines the creation of new political institutions in three Latin American countries: direct elections for governors and mayors in Venezuela, radical municipalization in Bolivia, and direct election of the mayor of Buenos Aires in Argentina. Diverging from the usual incremental processes of political change, these cases marked a significant departure from traditional centralized governments. Such "audacious reforms," explains Merilee S. Grindle, reinvent the ways in which public problems are manifested and resolved, the ways in which political actors calculate the costs and benefits of their activities, and the ways in which social groups relate to the political process. Grindle considers three central questions: Why would rational politicians choose to give up power? What accounts for the selection of some institutions rather than others? And how does the introduction of new institutions alter the nature of political actions? The case studies of Venezuela, Bolivia, and Argentina demonstrate that institutional invention must be understood from theoretical perspectives that stretch beyond immediate concerns about electoral gains and political support building. Broader theoretical perspectives on the definition of nation and state, the nature of political contests, the legitimacy of political systems, and the role of elites all must be considered. While past conflicts are not erased by reforms, in the new order there is often greater potential for more responsible, accountable, and democratic government.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780801864216
(229mm x 152mm x 17mm)
Imprint: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publish Date: 20-Sep-2000
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Merilee Serrill Grindle
Blood of Brothers, Paperback (September 2007)
A dramatic story of the centuries-old power struggle that burst into the headlines in 1979 with the overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship. It is a vibrant portrait of the Nicaraguan people and their volcanic land, a cultural history rich in poetry and bloodshed, baseball and insurrection.
Despite the Odds, Paperback (June 2004)
Poses an important question: How can we account for successful policy reform initiatives when the political cards are stacked against change? This book shows how the strategic choices of reform proponents alter the destinies of policy reforms by reshaping power equations and undermining institutional biases that impede change.
Proclaiming Revolution, Paperback (October 2003)
Presents interpretations of the causes of the revolution in Bolivia of 1952 and compares them to the great social transformations that occurred in France, Mexico, Russia, China and Cuba. The essays also examine the political, social and economic development of the country after the revolution.
Challenging the State, Hardback (February 1996)» View all books by Merilee Serrill Grindle
This book examines the development of Latin America and Africa in the face of challenging political and economic crises.
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Author Biography - Merilee Serrill Grindle
Merilee S. Grindle is in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
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