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Title: Explaining democratic divergence : the impact of elite political culture and political institutions on the democratic performance of Colombia and Venezuela
Author: Gómez Benavides, Juan Carlos
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 5346
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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The aim of this thesis is to explain and assess, from a comparative perspective, the drivers behind the process of democratic divergence experienced by Colombia and Venezuela from the mid-1990s until 2010. This thesis claims that in order to understand this phenomenon it is necessary to study this observed occurrence from two complementary perspectives. First, it introduces the ‘Circular Causality Model’ as an alternative theoretical framework to explain the opposite democratic paths taken by these cases. It critically argues that traditional strands of literature such as modernisation theory, resource curse theory, institutional theory, and political culture theory cannot, individually, provide compelling answers to explain divergence. Instead, it claims that the best explanation to be offered lies in combining, or merging, two important and contested theories; namely, institutional and political culture theories. Hence, it argues that not only structural factors, but also agency ones are important to fully understand this phenomenon. Therefore, it groups together elite political culture, the enactment of new constitutions and electoral system as the independent variables to explain democratic divergence. The causality offered by this circular model is one in which the renewal of political elites (agency) – which occurred during the 1990s in both countries- has effects over the functioning of the mentioned key subset of political institutions (structures) which taken together will help explain democratic divergence. The second part of the thesis introduces a multivariate regression model to assess the statistical significance of the independent variables included in the theoretical Circular Causality Model to explain divergence. By building from the scratch an entirely new dataset, seven different empirical models offer a rather new approach to operationalise and measure the independent variables contained in the theoretical model. The estimation of the regression model proves that the independent variables that make up the theoretical model are statistically significant and correctly predict the opposite democratic path followed by Colombia and Venezuela during the 'divergence period'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JL Political institutions (America except United States)