Economic and governmental factors in political violence: A cross-national analysis and case study of El Salvador.
AuthorFerrell, Jack Russell.
KeywordsEl Salvador -- Politics and government.
Income distribution -- El Salvador.
El Salvador -- Economic conditions.
Violence -- El Salvador.
Committee ChairBorhek, J. T.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study analyzes economic and governmental factors in political violence, using both a cross-national quantitative analysis and an historical case study of El Salvador. Since at least the time of Aristotle, political violence has been a concern of social philosophers and social scientists. While it has often been seen primarily as revolutionary, political violence can be reconceptualized to include violent acts for political purposes carried out by an established regime as well as by its opponents. Such a broadening of the concepts facilitates neutral measurements of political violence, such as by death rate per population from domestic political conflict. For convenience, useful theories of political violence may be broken down into two main types. The first type, which may be called inequality theory, postulates some type of inequality, generally economic inequality, as a major cause of political violence. The second type of theory, which may be referred to as collective action theory, generally emphasizes the influence of the political interaction of competing actors. Other theories stress factors such as land inequality and population density. The cross-national analysis of this study found that income inequality and government sanctions were two of the more robust independent variables contributing to political violence. Similarly, the historical case study of El Salvador, particularly a comparison of the outbreaks of political violence occurring in 1932 and in 1979-84, suggests an important role in political violence was played by both income inequality and government sanctions. The findings that both of these variables contribute significantly and simultaneously to political violence implies that inequality theory and collective action theory may be partly compatible with each other. Also, the relationship between income inequality and political violence was found to be much stronger than the relationship between land inequality and political violence. This finding suggests that attempts to prevent political violence solely by addressing land inequality, as in many government land reform programs, will likely fall as long as they do not address the more fundamental factor of income inequality.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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Legislative Institutionalization in Latin America: Nicaragua (1979-2005) and Costa Rica (1871-2005)Peralta, Jesus Salvador (The University of Arizona., 2006)How do legislatures develop or institutionalize? Our knowledge about legislative development is mostly based on studies of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. state legislatures. However, we know next to nothing about legislative development in the emerging democracies of Latin America. Given the need to develop effective democratic institutions in that region, it is critical to understand how institutions change and how legislatures in particular develop. In this study, I develop a model of legislative development that complements rational choice and path dependent explanations of change. In particular, this model provides an answer to the question: how does a legislative organization change into a legislative institution?In particular, I hypothesize that legislative development varies depending on the extent to which electoral and constitutional reforms balance executive-legislative power asymmetries. To test this hypothesis, I compare legislative development in Nicaragua (1979-2005) and Costa Rica (1871-2005). Central to the process of legislative development are: (1) power asymmetries between presidents and assemblies, (2) the rules and organizations that are established to balance these asymmetries, (3) how rules and organizations affect the development of the legislatures from simple, subordinate organizations into complex and autonomous institutions, and (4) how the broader social, political, and economic environment contributes to legislative development.I find that political actors do not act or function within an historical or contextual vacuum, nor does history and context alone determine political choices and outcomes. Instead, political actors function within rational, institutional, and historical boundaries, so an approach that incorporates aspects of both rational choice and path dependent explanations is preferable to existing models of legislative change. Therefore, part of my contribution is (1) to clarify the conceptual confusion surrounding institutions, organizations, and rules, and reduce ambiguity relating to their incorrect use in current scholarship; (2) to conceptualize legislative development as a process - not an outcome - that unfolds in a causally related sequence; and (3) to develop a Bounded Rationality Model that complements rational choice with path dependent explanations of legislative development to explain how organizations become institutions.
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