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The Quality of Democracy in Latin America

Daniel H. Levine and José E. Molina, editors
The Quality of Democracy in Latin America
ISBN: 978-1-58826-761-0
ISBN: 978-1-58826-786-3
2011/299 pages/LC: 2010038600

"An important step forward in analyzing the empirical extent of democracy in Latin America.... Highly recommended."—Choice

"Compelling.... The studies presented here show that attention to an explicitly stated conceptual framework and well-informed, original interpretations of empirical data on a specific case are not mutually exclusive."—Brian F. Crisp, Washington University in St. Louis

"This book tackles an issue at the heart of debate about current Latin American politics. And it moves the debate forward.... Highly recommended reading."—Gerardo L. Munck, University of Southern California


In considering the nature and future prospects of the current wave of democracies in Latin America, analysis has shifted from a concern with regime change, transitions, and consolidation to a focus on the quality of these democracies. To what extent, for example, do citizens participate and influence decisionmaking? Are elections free and fair? Are there ways of ensuring government accountability? Do unelected power brokers exert undue influence?

Furthering this new approach, the authors of The Quality of Democracy in Latin America provide a rich, nuanced analysis—centered on a multidimensional theoretical foundation—of democratic systems in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.


Daniel H. Levine is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Michigan. He is author of Popular Voices in Latin American Catholicism and Religion and Politics in Latin America, among other works on democracy, social movements, and religion and politics in Latin America. José E. Molina is professor of political science at the Institute of Political Studies and Public Law at the University of Zulia. His publications include Los Sistemas Electorales de América Latina and El Sistema Electoral Venezolano y sus Consecuencias Políticas.


  • Evaluating the Quality of Democracy in Latin America—the Editors.
  • Measuring the Quality of Democracy—the Editors.
  • Chile: A Model Case?—L.M. Ruiz Rodríguez.
  • Argentina: Resilience in the Face of Challenges—M.P. Jones and J.P. Micozzi.
  • Mexico: Weak State, Weak Democracy—C.A. Holzner.
  • Brazil: The Persistence of Oligarchy—A.P. Montero.
  • Bolivia: The Growth of Grassroots Participation—M. Mendoza-Botelho.
  • Nicaragua: Chapiolla Democracy—S. Martí i Puig.
  • Colombia: The Effects of Violence—E. Moreno.
  • Venezuela: The Impact of Recent Electoral Processes—V. Pereira Almao and C. Pérez Baralt.
  • The Quality of Democracy: Strengths and Weaknesses in Latin America—the Editors.