“Party Systems and Redistribution in Democratic Latin America,” Comparative Politics
Abstract: A redistributive wave across Latin America provided credence to existing explanations that emphasize the importance of democracy and the political left for democratic redistribution. Yet, neither of these theories tell the entire story behind the contemporary politics of inequality in Latin America. This article stresses the importance of party systems for democratic redistribution, especially their role in increasing the scope of social policy as well as igniting competitive electoral environments that incentivize political elites to redistribute, leading to the amelioration of inequality over time. Utilizing a time-series cross-sectional dataset on fifteen Latin American countries covering the period of 1990–2015, and extending the analysis to sixty-five global democracies, this article finds that countries with institutionalized party systems exhibit greater income redistribution and lower levels of inequality than those with inchoate counterparts.
“Party Systems, Political Competition, and Inequality in Subnational Brazil,” Latin American Research Review
Abstract: Many have attributed the recent unprecedented wave of income redistribution in Brazil to national economic and political factors such as as the commodities boom, changes in minimum wages or premiums to skilled labor, and the rise of the Partido dos Trabalhadores and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Yet, much less attention has been devoted to the study of inequality at the subnational level, where relative levels of inequality across states remain incredibly varied. This article argues that Brazil’s most recent democratic transition enhanced political competition in some Brazilian state party systems, which in turn contributed to the amelioration of inequality. Utilizing a time-series cross-sectional dataset covering the highly redistributive period of 1998-2015, as well as a qualitative paired comparison between the states of Pará and Rio Grande do Sul, this article finds that Brazilian states with more competitive party systems are more likely to advance redistributive social policy and possess lower levels of inequality than those with less competitive party systems.
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