When allies of President Horacio Cartes tried to force an amendment through Paraguay's congress last year to allow him to run for a second term, rioters took to the streets and set fire to Congress, illustrating in particularly dramatic fashion the sharp divisions around term limits. Cartes eventually decided not to run again, but he may have been the exception. In recent … [Read more...] about Do Term Limits Benefit Voters?
This year's update to the Database of Political Institutions marks its 17th year of tracking institutional and electoral data for countries from around the world, and the second update at its new permanent home at the IDB. Researchers at the World Bank Development Research Group first compiled the database in 2000, coding institutional and electoral variables for 180 countries … [Read more...] about A Unique Database Charts Latin America’s Deepening Democracy
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
Patronage is among the least loved of political practices, often synonymous with malfeasance and incompetence. Civic and development organizations rail against it. Numerous studies show that merit-based career civil services, as opposed to discretionary ones, are associated with higher economic growth, lower corruption, and better bureaucratic performance. But patronage, the … [Read more...] about Does Political Patronage Necessarily Lead to Bad Hiring?
Conditional cash transfers are powerful tools of social progress in Latin America and the Caribbean. They have reduced short-term poverty for tens of millions of people by providing a monthly stipend and have helped break the intergenerational transmission of poverty by linking financial assistance to behaviors that enhance human capital, like school attendance and health … [Read more...] about Protecting Conditional Cash Transfers