working papers

Constituency Size and Trade Policy Vote in Latin America: Evidence from Argentina, Brazil and Chile
, with Umberto Mignozzetti. 

A widely accepted assumption in the International Political Economy (IPE) literature informs that constituency size is a strong predictor of legislators’ preference in trade policy vote. Accordingly, the larger the constituency, the more prone to free trade the legislator will be, for he will be insulated from special interests; smaller con-stituencies, however, would lead to concern for particularistic interest, which would result in protectionist position. Until recently, few studies have proposed an empirical analysis of this relation. And those who accomplished such a task, presenting find-ings that put in doubt the validity of that assumption, have been restricted to the US Congress. In this article, we attempt to test the theory of constituency size on three Latin American countries: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, by contrasting the vote prefer-ence on trade policy of representatives and senators. Our statistical analysis is based on roll-call votes from 1990 to 2010, in which we compare trade-related bills voted in both Houses.

Institutional Effects and State Behavior: Does
Regional Integration Promotes Political 
Convergence?, with Daniel Castelan. 

One of the most debated issues  in the International Relations literature is the role played by institutions and if “they matter or not”. In  the present paper, we focus on this subject 
and aim to evaluate the impact of re gional institutions on promoting political convergence in foreign policy among its members. For that reason we are using countries’ individual votes on the UN General Assembly (1946-2008) as an indicator of political convergence. In this  work, we analyzed the behavior of two regional blocs: Mercosul and Nafta. Preliminary results indicate that institutions may have distinct effects over the behavior of States, depending on the environment from which they emerge and the specific forms  they take. The initial question, if “institutions matter”, must be qualified in order to differentiate among the characteristics of regional integration arrangements. 

Lesgislative and Foreign Policy in Latin America.

In presidential systems, foreign policy has been traditionally perceived as linked to the Executive. Such tie becomes overtly evident in Latin America, a region marked by strong authoritarian past and where the strength of the Executive remains despite of the return of Democracy in the last few decades. Even in the face of a strong Executive, there is a growing trend in the Americas of the Legislative becoming more active in regard to International Affairs. Considering such trend, the present study attempts to break with the perceived notion of the Legislative's indifference to foreign policy by analyzing the stance taken by four Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico) during the 1990’s, holding commerce as key issue. Initially, research will be carried out on determining the capability of the Legislative on influencing policy-making in the realm of foreign affairs. Next, attempt will be made to evaluate the relationship between the Executive and the Legislative when dealing with trade foreign affairs in order to determine the relevant institutional factors at play.