This theoretically inspired study explores legislative politics in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico. Instead of beginning with an assumption that these legislatures are either rubber stamps or obstructionist bodies, the chapters provide new data and a fresh analytical approach to describe and explain the role of these representative bodies in these consolidating democracies. For each country the book provides three chapters dedicated, in turn, to executive– legislative relations, the legislatures' organizational structure, and the policy process. The analytical focus of each section, however, remains the same: the role of institutional factors (including the allocation of policy-making authority between the executive and legislative branches of government; the number of relevant parties in the legislature; and the structure of electoral incentives) in shaping the patterns of legislative behavior.
Scott Morgenstern is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Duke University. Professor Morgenstern has held a visiting professor position at CIDE (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas) in Mexico and served as a visiting researcher at the Instituto de Cienica Politica, Uruguay.
Benito Nacif is Research Professor at CIDE (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas) in Mexico. Professor Nacif's academic distinctions include the British Foreign Office and Commonwealth Scholarship (1990–1992).