LoboVault Home

Crafting Courts in New Democracies: The Politics of Subnational Judicial Reform in Brazil and Mexico


Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/9814

Crafting Courts in New Democracies: The Politics of Subnational Judicial Reform in Brazil and Mexico

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.author Ingram, Matthew C
dc.date.accessioned 2009-08-27T21:09:37Z
dc.date.available 2009-08-27T21:09:37Z
dc.date.issued 2009-08-27T21:09:37Z
dc.date.submitted July 2009
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1928/9814
dc.description.abstract Why does the strength of local courts vary in new democracies? Highlighting empirical and theoretical puzzles generated by the state-level variation in court strength within Latin America’s two largest democracies, Brazil and Mexico, this study offers a historical institutional explanation of judicial change. Notably, in contrast to much “new institutionalist” work – which examines the effects of formal instititutional arrangements – judicial institutions here are the dependent variable. The theoretical framework builds on existing explanations regarding the effects of electoral competition and ideology, specifying underlying causal logics and mechanisms. The framework also highlights the role of actors internal to institutions (judges), and the importance of social movement theory for understanding interactions between ideological judges and sympathetic actors outside the institution, leading to judicial mobilization or behavior “beyond the bench.” The empirical analysis draws on the analytic leverage of a subnational level of analysis and integrates quantitative and qualitative methods, yielding conclusions that would be impossible using either method in isolation. First, time-series cross-section analyses of judicial spending (as a proxy for court strength) examine broad relationships across Brazil’s 26 states from 1985 to 2006 and Mexico’s 31 states from 1993-2007. Quantitative tools for case selection identify “nested”, model-testing cases, around which I build small-N research designs consisting of three states in each country. The in-depth, qualitative analysis draws on 115 personal, semi-structured interviews with judges and other legal elites, archival evidence, and direct observation to trace the process of judicial change. Overall, electoral competition operates as a pre-condition for reform, but its effect is indeterminate once a minimum threshold of competition is crossed. Ideology has the most consistent and meaningful effect on reform. Actors and their intentions matter. However, the expression of these intentions is contingent upon the nature of opportunity structures, including mobilization strategies and alliances, as well as overlapping historical processes. In short, I find that strong reforms are most likely where progressive judges coincide with sympathetic, left-of-center politicians. The results emphasize the role of ideas and the conditional expression of these ideas, that is, the contingency of intentionality. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Fulbright U.S. Student Program National Science Foundation Social Science Research Council Latin American & Iberian Institute at UNM (LAII-UNM) Tinker Foundation Hewlett Foundation Graduate Research Development Fund at UNM (GRD-UNM) en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject courts en_US
dc.subject judiciary en_US
dc.subject democracy en_US
dc.subject Latin America en_US
dc.subject Mexico en_US
dc.subject Brazil en_US
dc.subject judicial politics en_US
dc.subject comparative en_US
dc.subject institutions en_US
dc.subject historical institutionalism en_US
dc.subject subnational en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Courts--Bazil
dc.subject.lcsh Courts--Brazil
dc.subject.lcsh Courts--Mexico
dc.subject.lcsh Judicial independence--Brazil
dc.subject.lcsh Judicial independence--Mexico
dc.subject.lcsh Political questions and judicial power--Brazil
dc.subject.lcsh Political questions and judicial power--Mexico
dc.title Crafting Courts in New Democracies: The Politics of Subnational Judicial Reform in Brazil and Mexico en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US
dc.description.degree Political Science en_US
dc.description.level Doctoral en_US
dc.description.department University of New Mexico. Dept. of Political Science en_US
dc.description.advisor Stanley, William
dc.description.committee-member Roberts, Kenneth
dc.description.committee-member Hansen, Wendy
dc.description.committee-member Goldfrank, Benjamin
dc.description.committee-member Staton, Jeffrey

Files in this item

Files Size Format View
Crafting Courts ... 2009-7jul-15_submitted.pdf 2.952Mb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

UNM Libraries

Search LoboVault


My Account