to focus on countries that used similar approaches to privatization within the context of market-oriented reforms. 16 Third, analysts regarded Argentina, Brazil, and Peru, more than any other countries in South America, as the main test cases for the feasibility of privatization in that region. 17 Fourth, they were similar in terms of political regime, characterized by democratically elected governments. 18
As noted earlier, the study will be qualitative. While this approach is not as precise as if we were employing quantitative methods, it is more reliable in terms of the accuracy of the observed phenomenon. Following this rationale, in the country-by-country analysis the method used will be that of structured, focused comparison. The strength of this method is that it allows the researcher an in-depth definition and standardization of the data requirements of the case studies by 'formulating theoretically relevant general questions to guide the examination of each case'. Accordingly, data were collected on the same factors across unit of analysis in order to strengthen the causal inference ensuing from each country analysis.
Although each country is here examined individually, comparisons among cases are made throughout the chapters, particularly the ones on Brazil and Peru, which chronologically followed Argentina in their privatization effort. The periods analyzed in the country chapters (3, 4, and 5) will be the administrations of Presidents Carlos Menem of Argentina ( 1989-99) and Alberto Fujimorl of Peru ( 1990-99). In the case of Brazil, the analysis will center on the Collor-Franco administrations ( 1990-4) and, to a lesser extent, the Fernando Enrique Cardoso first administration ( 1995-8).
Besides the collection of statistical data not available in the United States, the field research involved extensive open-ended, structured interviews carried out between 1990 and 1998 in all three countries with 310 people. These interviews included cabinet ministers, high-ranking government bureaucrats, representatives of multilateral lending organizations and foreign governments, congressmen, journalists, pollsters, and businessmen. All information used in the text was thoroughly double-checked through documentary sources (government documents, congressional inquiries), secondary sources (press reports), and the corroborations of structured interviews.