CPOL 2146 Legislative Politics
The legislative branch is one of the cornerstones of democratic systems. Political representation is inherent in the idea of democracy. The pedestrian definition of a democracy usually conjures up a strong connection between government, policy and popular legitimacy, which supposes that the will of the people guides the decision-making process. Thus, elected offcials, both in the executive and legislative branches are compelled to uphold and further the interests of the citizenry. As a result, legislatures are the places where the idea of political representation materializes. How good or bad representation is in a given polity hinges on the work of the legislature as an institution and the legislators that populate it. Therefore, political scientists should have a strong grasp of the ways in which legislatures and legislators enhance democratic values. The main goal of the course is, precisely, to help students develop the analytical tools to assess different patterns of legislative politics in Latin America. Latin American legislative bodies offer interesting variation to understand how political representation takes place. Thus, this course offers a comparative approach to the legislative branch in order to understand how different institutional designs affect the policy process in the region.
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