Audacious reforms: institutional invention and democracy in by Merilee S. Grindle

By Merilee S. Grindle

Audacious Reforms examines the production of recent political associations in 3 Latin American nations: 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 standard incremental tactics of political swap, those circumstances marked an important departure from conventional centralized governments. Such "audacious reforms," explains Merilee S. Grindle, reinvent the ways that public difficulties are manifested and resolved, the ways that political actors calculate the prices and merits in their actions, and the ways that social teams relate to the political process.Grindle considers 3 critical questions: Why could rational politicians decide to surrender strength? What money owed for the choice of a few associations instead of others? and the way does the creation of latest associations regulate the character of political activities? The case reviews of Venezuela, Bolivia, and Argentina show that institutional invention needs to be understood from theoretical views that extend past speedy matters approximately electoral profits and political help construction. Broader theoretical views at the definition of kingdom and country, the character of political contests, the legitimacy of political structures, and the position of elites all needs to be thought of. whereas earlier conflicts aren't erased by means of reforms, within the new order there's usually better capability for extra in charge, in charge, and democratic executive.

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In chapters 3–8, I present case studies to assess the usefulness of the hypotheses. For each case, I devote one chapter to exploring the related questions of the decision to cede power and the reasons behind the particular choices made. In a second chapter I deal with the political consequences of new institutions. Each account of reform begins with an analysis of the principal political institutions in the country in the pre-reform period and then moves on to consider the process of reform and its aftermath.

President Rau´l Alfonsı´n was elected with a clear mandate to govern and dedicated his administration to the consolidation of democracy in the country. Despite overwhelming support for democratic institutions by citizens of Argentina, this task was made more difficult by deep tensions related to the culpability of the military for its actions during the “dirty war,” by deep economic crisis and instability, and by the revival of bitter political rivalries between the two main political parties. Second, in each of the three cases, politicians had a range of options they could have pursued to respond to the institutional crises they faced.

I am particularly interested in the extent to which new institutions affected the behavior of political parties, influenced the issues that emerged in electoral contests, and altered the dynamics of political careers. Again, alternative hypotheses to explain a variety of possible outcomes can be derived from distinct theoretical approaches to explaining politics. To begin with theory derived from economics, a rational choice explanation of the consequences of introducing new institutions would focus on how 34 A U D A C I O U S R E F O R M S a new set of constraints on the options available to politicians, bureaucrats, and citizens would lead to new strategies for achieving their preferences.

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