«This book presents in-depth analyses of the data gathered for 26 years by the Political Elites of Latin America project (PELA), the most comprehensive database about the topic in the world. Since 1994, PELA has conducted around 9,000 personal interviews with representative samples of the Legislative Powers of 18 Latin American countries, generating a unique resource for the study of political elites in a comparative perspective. Now, this contributed volume brings together studies that dig into the data gathered by PELA to discuss important topics related to the challenges faced by representative democracy in Latin America.
After an introductory chapter that presents the potential of the PELA database, the book is structured in two parts. The first addresses in eight chapters important aspects of representative democracy such as political ambition, political trust, satisfaction with democracy, clientelism and the quality of democracy. It then discusses three relevant issues in Latin American political dynamics such as executive-legislative relations, women’s participation as representatives, and the meaning of China and the United States in national politics.
The second part addresses in five chapters studies of seven national cases that are representative of regional heterogeneity. These chapters aim to examine parliamentarian elites’ attitudes in different political systems with regard to a variety of relevant issues such as institutional trust, satisfaction with democracy, Executive-Legislative relations, clientelism, and gender questions. Furthermore, these chapters intend to evince the evolution of such attitudes in the course of the last two decades.
Politics and Political Elites in Latin America: Challenges and Trends will be of interest to scholars and students of comparative politics in general and, more particularly, to those interested in the challenges faced by representative democracy not only in Latin America, but in many parts of the world.»