Do the Poor Count?: Democratic Institutions and Accountability in a Context of Poverty

Paperback | September 30, 2011

byMichelle M. Taylor-Robinson

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Latin America’s flirtation with neoliberal economic restructuring in the 1980s and 1990s (the so-called Washington Consensus strategy) had the effect of increasing income inequality throughout the region. The aim of this economic policy was in part to create the conditions for stable democracy by ensuring efficient economic use of resources, both human and capital, but the widening gap between rich and poor threatened to undermine political stability. At the heart of the dilemma faced by these new democracies is the question of accountability: Are all citizens equally capable of holding the government accountable if it does not represent their interests? In this book, Michelle Taylor-Robinson investigates both the formal institutions of democracy (such as electoral rules and the design of the legislative and executive branches) and informal institutions (such as the nomination procedures of political parties and patron-client relationships) to see what incentives legislators have to pay attention to the needs of poor people and thereby adequately represent their interests.

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From the Publisher

Latin America’s flirtation with neoliberal economic restructuring in the 1980s and 1990s (the so-called Washington Consensus strategy) had the effect of increasing income inequality throughout the region. The aim of this economic policy was in part to create the conditions for stable democracy by ensuring efficient economic use of reso...

Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson is Associate Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University.

other books by Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson

Format:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.56 inPublished:September 30, 2011Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271037512

ISBN - 13:9780271037516

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Tables

List of Abbreviations

Acknowledgments

1. Institutions, Poverty, and Democratic Consolidation

2. Theorizing Representation and Accountability in a Context of Poverty

3. Institutions and Poor People’s Confidence in Their Legislature

4. Evolution of Institutions: An Overview of Honduras’s Political History

5. Institutions and Incentives in Honduras’s Third-Wave Democracy

6. Institutions, Incentives, and Roles: Legislators’ Identities About Their Job

7. Roles, Attitudes, and Actions: Does Anyone Represent Poor People?

8. Do the Poor Count in Latin American Democracies?

Appendix: Coding Informal Roles

References

Index

Editorial Reviews

Do the Poor Count? offers a novel and interesting explanation for why the poor often fail to get what they want through democratic politics. It helps explain how democracy really works.”

—Barbara Geddes, UCLA