The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Department Leads the Way for Comparative Politics in 2009

Thu, February 12, 2009

Catherine Boone and Kurt Weyland have each published an article in the January 2009 issue of Comparative Politics.

Boone’s article, "Electoral Populism Where Property Rights are Weak: Land Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa," addresses one of comparative politics’ most central, and longstanding, empirical and theoretical questions: What conditions are required to establish and perpetuate the peaceful transition of political power through democratic elections? Boone identifies a missing variable key to unlocking otherwise puzzling political outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa – property rights, or the lack thereof – and breaks ground on a research agenda for political scientists studying comparative democratization generally and sub-Saharan Africa specifically.

Weyland’s article, "The Rise of Latin America's Two Lefts: Insights from Rentier State Theory," is an especially timely piece providing trenchant analysis of conditions under which typically risk-averse politicians lose their aversion to loss, and become pronounced in their willingness to accept risk, and bold and imprudent in their subsequent policy and political decisions. With particular attention given to the crucial cases of Bolivia and Brazil, Weyland surveys six countries, including Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Venezuela, and explains the emergence of moderate and radical leftism in Latin America since 1998.

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