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Informal Institutions and Democracy

Lessons from Latin America

This volume analyzes the function of informal institutions in Latin America and how they support or weaken democratic governance. Drawing from a wide range of examples—including the Mexican dedazo, clientelism in Brazil, legislative "ghost coalitions" in Ecuador, and elite power-sharing in Chile—the contributors examine how informal rules shape the performance of state and democratic institutions, offering fresh and timely insights into contemporary problems of governability, "unrule of law," and the absence of effective representation, participation, and accountability in Latin America.

The editors present this analysis within a fourfold conceptual framework: complementary institutions, which fill gaps in formal rules or enhance their efficacy; accommodative informal institutions, which blunt the effects of dysfunctional formal institutions; competing informal institutions, which directly subvert the formal rules; and substitutive informal institutions, which replace ineffective formal institutions.

About the Authors

Gretchen Helmke is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Rochester. Steven Levitsky is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University.

Reviews

"One of the most interesting and illuminating works on Latin American politics to appear in recent years."

- Joe Foweraker - Journal of Latin American Studies

"Rich in empirical material and in provoking theoretical questions."

- Julian Durazo Herrmann - European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Johns Hopkins University Press
From 13 To 17

9780801883514 : informal-institutions-and-democracy-helmke-levitsky
Hardback
368 Pages
$77.00 USD
9780801883521 : informal-institutions-and-democracy-helmke-levitsky
Paperback / softback
368 Pages
$33.00 USD
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