This book offers a broad-based and genuinely comparative view of corruption issues and their relationship to democratic politics in Latin America. Those issues are treated in terms of both sophisticated theory and useful case studies. The result is an essential resource not only for regional specialists, but for anyone else concerned with the interplay of wealth, power, civil society, accountability, and democracy in changing societies.
Corruption has blurred, and in some cases blinded, the vision of democracy in many Latin American nations. Weakened institutions and policies have facilitated the rise of corrupt leadership, election fraud, bribery, and clientelism. Corruption and Democracy in Latin America presents a groundbreaking national and regional study that provides policy analysis and prescription through a wide-ranging methodological, empirical, and theoretical survey.
The contributors offer analysis of key topics, including: factors that differentiate Latin American corruption from that of other regions; the relationship of public policy to corruption in regional perspective; patterns and types of corruption; public opinion and its impact; and corruption's critical links to democracy and governance.
Additional chapters present case studies on specific instances of corruption: diverted funds from a social program in Peru; Chilean citizens' attitudes toward corruption; the effects of interparty competition on vote buying in local Brazilian elections; and the determinants of state-level corruption in Mexico under Vicente Fox.
The volume concludes with a comparison of the lessons drawn from these essays to the evolution of anticorruption policy in Latin America over the past two decades. It also applies these lessons to the broader study of corruption globally to provide a framework for future research in this crucial area.
This volume makes an important contribution to our understanding of the causes, consequences, and scope of corruption. Combining insightful theoretical essays with detailed case studies that illuminate the dynamics of corruption in particular countries, Corruption and Democracy in Latin America will be an invaluable resource for scholars and policymakers interested in understanding the challenges to good government in the region.
Charles H. Blake is professor of political science at James Madison University. He is the author of Politics in Latin America: The Quest for Development, Liberty, and Governance and coauthor of Comparing Public Policies: Issues and Choices in Six Industrialized Countries.
Stephen D. Morris is professor of political science and director of the international studies program at the University of South Alabama. He is the author of Gringolandia: Mexican Identity and Perceptions of the U.S., Political Reformism in Mexico: An Overview of Contemporary Mexican Politics, and Corruption and Politics in Contemporary Mexico.