A Tale of Two Latin American Congresses. Towards a Comparative Study of Institutionalization and Effectiveness

Produced by: 
Universidad de San Andrés
Available from: 
June 2013
Paper author(s): 
Valeria Palanza (Universidad Católica de Chile)
Carlos Scartascini (Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo)
Mariano Tommasi (Universidad de San Andrés, Depto. de Economía)
Politics and Economy

This paper is concerned with the characteristics, determinants and consequences of varying levels of congressional institutionalization. Our work can be traced back to the early work on congressional institutionalization done by Polsby (1968), which is complemented here by the game-theoretic notion that institutionalization is an equilibrium outcome that emerges from the beliefs and investments made by relevant political actors. The paper explores key characteristics and trends surrounding legislative careers and congressional assets such as organization and resources. It does so to uncover the effects of different belief systems and investment dynamics on levels of institutionalization and, ultimately, on policy outcomes. We approach our puzzle by analyzing two close yet contrasting cases: Argentina and Chile, which possess stark differences on many policy and institutional dimensions, despite relatively similar constitutional settings.


Research section: 
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