During the 1990s Argentina was the only country in Latin America to combine radical ecomic reform and full democracy. In 2001, however, the country fell into a deep political and ecomic crisis and was widely seen as a basket case. This book explores both developments, examining the links between the (real and apparent) successes of the 1990s and the 2001 collapse. Specific topics include ecomic policymaking and reform, executive-legislative relations, the judiciary, federalism, political parties and the party system, and new patterns of social protest. Beyond its empirical analysis, the book contributes to several theoretical debates in comparative politics. Contemporary studies of political institutions focus almost exclusively on institutional design, neglecting issues of enforcement and stability. Yet a major problem in much of Latin America is that institutions of diverse types have often failed to take root. Besides examining the effects of institutional weakness, the book also uses the Argentine case to shed light on four other areas of current debate: tensions between radical ecomic reform and democracy; political parties and contemporary crises of representation; links between subnational and national politics; and the transformation of state-society relations in the post-corporatist era. Besides the editors, the contributors are Javier Auyero, Ernesto Calvo, Kent Eaton, Sebastian Etchemendy, Gretchen Helmke, Wonjae Hwang, Mark Jones, Enrique Peruzzotti, Pablo T. Spiller, Maria Tommasi, and Juan Carlos Torre.
Steven Levitsky is John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University. Maria Victoria Murillo is Associate Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.