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Title: Social mobilisation and the pure presidential democracies of Latin America
Author: Lopez Garcia, Ana Isabel
ISNI:       0000 0000 7924 6847
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis seeks for an explanation of social mobilisation by examining the nuts and bolts of the institutional design of democracies. Since the nature of executive-legislative relations in democracy is an important influence on the distribution of policy outcomes between actors in society, and consequently on the extent of support (or inclusion) of citizens to the way power is exercised, the present work investigates how pure presidentialism (and the whole range of institutional accessories that can be combined with this particular executive) affects the opportunities and constraints for social mobilisation. This is done by conducting a within-format comparison across pure presidential regimes in Latin America, where most pure presidential regimes are located. The thesis is grounded in both quantitative and qualitative methods of research. Quantitatively, protest events are measured across time and space and the parameters are estimated through pooled cross-sectional time-series models for count data. Qualitatively, three case studies are examined: Bolivia (electoral rules), Ecuador (non-legislative and legislative presidential power) and Venezuela (party system). The main findings of this study are: Within presidential systems social mobilisation is more likely to occur whenever: (1) presidents are selected in runoff elections in the assembly, and (2) constitutions allow the immediate re-election of the president. However, the prospects for social mobilisation are not significantly affected by the extent to which electoral formulae promote the entry of parties to the assembly. As regards to the relative powers of the presidency and the legislature, the extent of the decree and veto powers of the president do not affect the occurrence of social mobilisation. Instead, the probability of contentious action is greater whenever (3) the capacity of legislatures to censure and sanction the members of the executive is low; and (4) legislatures have weak authority over public spending. Lastly, it is shown that the probability of social mobilisation does not vary across majoritarian and minority governments; neither is social mobilisation susceptible to the levels of electoral volatility in the legislature. Rather, (5) social mobilisation is highest whenever the pro-presidential contingent in the legislature is dominated by one large political party. The thesis thus concludes by strongly advocating for the inclusion of the format of the executive as an important variable in the comparative study of social mobilisation and of the substantive outputs of a democracy, in general.
Supervisor: Foweraker, Joseph Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Latin America ; Democratic government ; Civil society ; Executive-legislative relations ; social movements ; Latin American politics