Delegative Democracy Revisited: Brazil’s Accountability Paradox

Issue Date July 2016
Volume 27
Issue 3
Page Numbers 119-128
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Brazil today faces an impeachment crisis. While the political ambitions of the president’s opponents have undeniably fueled the crisis, the electorate has also grown impatient and emboldened the opposition. This article contends that as stronger state accountability institutions uncovered endemic corruption, social and political inclusion paradoxically left the electorate less dependent on parties for the selective distributive of benefits, and more demanding of government effectiveness and probity. The equilibrium of valence voting without strong partisanship worked well during good times, but ultimately left parties vulnerable to public impatience with corruption, poor service provision, and the economic crisis—as well as to a crisis of political representation.

About the Author

Frances Hagopian is Jorge Paulo Lemann Senior Lecturer in government at Harvard University, and author of Reorganizing Representation in Latin America (forthcoming).

View all work by Frances Hagopian