The study of Latin America has long been an ideological battleground. Scholars disagree on every major issue: the impact of the U.S. influence in the region, the political orientation of the middle class, the role of the military, the rate of socioeconomic change, and the viability of reform.
Public Policy in Latin America is a masterful synthesis of scholarship on the region. Sloan studies political phenomena not by making superficial comparisons between leaders, parties or styles, but by examining what governments do-the creation of public policy through political process. The decisions to stress accumulation versus distribution of economic goods, the role of the bureaucracy, and the quality of political participation tell more about a nation than what party or persons are in power.
Sloan makes excellent use of available literature to provide the reader with a number of comparative illustrations from throughout Latin America. . . . The book's major strength lies in the author's first rate job of synthesizing almost decades of research on policy successes and failure undertaken by a variety of Latin American governments.
Richly informative and especially well written. . . . Anyone wanting to understand the nature, problems, and complexities of Latin America would find Sloan's survey of real benefit.
John W. Sloan is professor of political science at the University of Houston.learn more