Winner of the Journal of Latin American Studies Best Article Prize for 2021.
The reform approved in Peru in 2009 during a right-wing government deviates from similar attempts to expand access to healthcare. Left-wing parties in Peru were extremely weak during the policymaking process and the political parties were non-programmatic. Based on original field research, this paper demonstrates how parties that lacked core values uniting their leaders and had no commitment to the reform did not care for the definition of specifications regarding funding and implementation. Instead, technocrats dominated the process of policy formation, which accompanied by the lack of commitment from key political actors, led to poorly specified policy and deficient implementation.
Selected by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Women and Public Policy Program for inclusion in its Gender Action Portal
Are elected officials more responsive to men than women inquiring about access to government services? Women face discrimination in many realms of politics, but evidence is limited on whether such discrimination extends to interactions between women and elected officials. In recent years, several field experiments have examined public officials’ responsiveness. The majority focused on racial bias in the United States, while the few experiments outside the US were usually single-country studies. We explore gender bias with the first large-scale audit experiment in 5 countries in Europe (France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands) and 6 in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay). A citizen alias whose gender is randomized contacts members of parliament about unemployment benefits or healthcare services. The results are surprising. Legislators respond significantly more to women (+3% points), especially in Europe (+4.3% points). In Europe, female legislators in particular reply substantially more to women (+8.4% points).
This article presents an analysis of the main political events of 2018. After the resignation of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK), the first year of Martín Vizcarra’s government began. His government faced numerous scandals triggered by the Lava Jato case, resulting in the detention of key politicians (including former presidents PPK and Ollanta Humala) and the transformation of the three branches of government. Moreover, a series of audio recordings uncovered a network of illegal under-the-table practices within the Judiciary, which included the protection of politicians and the negotiation of positions and reduction of penalties. In response, Vizcarra’s government promoted a group of institutional reforms via referendum, which are set in a context of institutional precariousness.
Latin American welfare states have undergone major changes over the past half century. As of 1980, there were only a handful of countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, and Uruguay) with social policy regimes that covered more than half of their population with some kind of safety net to insure adequate care during their old age and that provided adequate healthcare services. With the turn of the century, the economic and political situation changed significantly. The commodity boom eased fiscal pressures and made resources available for an increase in public social expenditure. Democracy was more consolidated in the region and civil society had recovered from repression. Left-wing parties began to win elections and take advantage of the fiscal room which allowed for the building of redistributive social programs. The most significant innovation has been expansion of coverage to people in the informal sector and to people with insufficient histories of contributions to social insurance schemes. The overwhelming majority of Latin Americans now have the right to some kind of cash assistance at some point in their lives and to healthcare provided by their governments. In many cases, there have also been real improvements in the generosity of cash assistance, particularly in the case of non-contributory pensions, and in the quality of healthcare services. However, the least progress has been made toward equity. With very few exceptions, severe inequalities continue to exist in the quality of services provided through the new and the traditional programs.
“Health Care and the public-private mix in Mexico, Chile and Peru." 2022. In Merike Blofield, Camila Arza, and Fernando Filgueira, eds. TheOxford International Handbook of Governance and Management for Social Policy. Latin America Section. Oxford University Press. Forthcoming.
BOOK PROJECT Political Parties and Policy Reform: Expansion of Healthcare in Latin America
Reforms seeking to expand access to social benefits promise to alleviate inequality. Yet, the political process behind the formation of these reforms can affect the prospects for tackling such disparity. Latin American countries have attempted to reform their highly unequal healthcare systems. What explains the variation in the quality of these reforms? I propose that the programmatic commitment of political parties affects the quality of legislation. Reforms can follow a path in which parties shape specifications regarding implementation and funding, or one in which disengaged parties allow technocrats without partisan ties to dominate the policymaking process. Both paths can increase formal coverage and even funding of the sector. The key difference is in the feasibility of granting effective access to healthcare and the sustainability of funding. I compare three reform processes that began in the 2000s: the Chilean AUGE, the Mexican Seguro Popular, and the Peruvian Universal Health Insurance.
Existing literature has focused on cases where strong left-wing parties were responsible for the expansion of social benefits. However, countries led by right-wing governments have also implemented healthcare reforms seeking expansion. Through the comparison of two processes of reform that took place with right-leaning parties in power (Mexico and Peru) and one under a left-wing coalition (Chile), I identify features of parties apart from ideology that influence policymaking.
MANUSCRIPTS IN PREPARATION
"Immigration and Deportation: Attitudes in Brazil and the United States," with Gabriele Magni. Presented at the 2022 European Political Science Association (EPSA) Annual Conference in Prague, Czech Republic. APSA 2022 Summer Centennial Center Research Grant
Immigration has become an increasingly relevant political issue. This project examines a topic that has received limited attention in existing scholarly work on immigration attitudes, but that is central to the political discourse of various countries: the deportation of immigrants who are illegally in the country. What determines attitudes toward deportation? We focus on two countries where immigration is a key political issue and where populist right-wing politicians have been successful in recent years: the United States and Brazil. We explore what role economic, cultural, security, and health concerns play in driving attitudes toward deportation. Furthermore, we analyze how immigrants’ characteristics influence natives’ attitudes on deportation, focusing on three attributes: country of origin, religious denomination, and sexual orientation. We study these questions with original surveys conducted in the US and Brazil with samples mirroring census quotas on key socio-demographics and use both observational and experimental items to measure attitudes toward deportation.
“Party-Voter Policy Congruence: Rethinking its Relationship to Clientelism."
This article examines the level of congruence between representatives and supporters at the party level across seven policy issues: 1) the state’s responsibility in the provision of jobs, 2) pensions, 3) health care services, 4) ensuring the well-being of the people, 5) a state-run economy, 6) the reduction of inequality, and 7) same-sex marriage. I argue that party-voter policy congruence and clientelism can be compatible. I test this argument using elite and mass survey data on 53 political parties in 17 Latin American countries. I show that congruence is higher for parties showing higher levels of clientelism, regarding the public provision of excludable benefits, the state’s responsibility for ensuring the well-being of the people, and in the case of conservative parties, approval of same-sex marriage. Moreover, I find that left-wing parties are more congruent on socioeconomic issues than right-wing parties.
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