Little more than half of the respondents captured in the latest regional survey of Chile-based Latinobarómetro thought democracy was the best form of government – a ten-year low that indicates weakness in Latin America's democracies. But does this mean citizens are losing their interest in voting, democracy's most sacred right? In a recently published study, Carlos Scartascini … [Read more...] about How the Right to Vote Sparks Political Interest
Latin American countries have a history of veering from left to right in economic affairs: from support for state-driven economic development to support for free markets. But a recent survey shows an upswing in ordinary citizens' enthusiasm for capitalism. And it begs the question as to why and how long-lasting the phenomenon might be. The recent findings are remarkable. … [Read more...] about The New Free-Market Fervor in Latin America
There are countries where there is a great deal of consensus on issues of national importance, and countries where that consensus is lacking, where the population is divided, distrustful of political opponents, and unwilling to compromise. The latter are polarized societies, and their cleavages lead to worse outcomes in a whole gamut of areas, ranging from greater insecurity … [Read more...] about How Political Polarization Holds Latin America Back
A healthy democracy requires widespread voting and an informed electorate. But by those standards many, if not most, democracies are ailing. In the United States, less than 60% of the voting age population turned out to vote in the 2016 presidential elections. Even so, many voters have little idea of the basics of the U.S. system and fewer than a quarter know who their senators … [Read more...] about Can Mandatory Voting Improve Democracy?
Since the first exchange of a drachma for a vote in Athens more than two-and-a-half thousand years ago, politicians have practiced the well-honed, if crude, art of vote buying. Today their inducements range from liquor, gas and cash in the United States to cash, grain, and washing machines in large parts of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Yet vote buying is not … [Read more...] about Why Do Politicians Buy Votes?