Legislative Politics in Latin America

By Scott Morgenstern; Benito Nacif | Go to book overview

6
Explaining the High Level of Party
Discipline in the Argentine Congress*
MARK P. JONES

Politicians and academics consider party discipline in the Argentine Congress to be (comparatively) very high (Jones 1997a; Molinelli 1991; Mustapic and Goretti 1992). While the conventional wisdom of high levels of party discipline is nearly universal in Argentina, there have been no empirical studies of roll-call voting behavior during the post-1983 era and virtually no structured attempts to explain the principal sources of this high level of discipline.

This chapter has two goals. First, undertaking the first analysis of rollcall votes in the post-1983 period, it underscores the comparatively high levels of party discipline in the Argentine Chamber of Deputies. Second, it identifies the primary determinants of this highly disciplined voting behavior.


Argentine Political Institutions

Argentina is a federal republic consisting of 23 provinces and a semiautonomous federal capital.1 It has a presidential form of government with

____________________
1
The national territory of Tierra del Fuego achieved provincial status in 1990. For stylistic reasons it and the federal capital (Capital Federal) will generally be referred to as “provinces” in the remainder of the text.
*
Support for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation (grant SBR9709695), the Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo Institucional (CEDI) de la Fundación Gobierno y Sociedad, and the Michigan State University Political Institutions and Public Choice Program. I thank Pablo Ava, Rodolfo Bernardini, Miguel De Luca, Alberto DiPeco, Susana Dri, Marcela Durrieu, Alberto Föhrig, María Cristina Fra Amador, Ariel Godoy, Guillermo Molinelli, Teresa Moreno, Valeria Palanza, María Teresa Pianzola, Sebastian Saiegh, Gisela Sin, Rossana Surballe, María Inés Tula, Cristina Vallejos, and the staff of the Legislative Reference Division of the Argentine Congress for their tremendous assistance during the research portion of this study. John Carey, Gary Cox, Miguel De Luca, Scott Morgenstern, Benito Nacif, and the participants at the February 1997 Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) conference on “Legislatures in Latin America” provided many valuable comments on earlier drafts of this chapter.

-147-

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