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Title page for ETD etd-03242019-235002

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Castorena, Oscar
URN etd-03242019-235002
Title Essays on Political Representation and Accountability in Mexico
Degree PhD
Department Political Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Elizabeth J. Zechmeister Committee Chair
Jonathan Hiskey Committee Member
Joshua D. Clinton Committee Member
Roderic A. Camp Committee Member
  • political representation
  • accountability
  • Mexico
  • political parties
  • responsiveness
  • descriptive representation
Date of Defense 2019-03-12
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation is comprised of three essays on representation and accountability in Mexico. In the first essay, I argue that legislators’ responsiveness to their constituents is influenced by their career ambitions and the political opportunities that shape those ambitions. I show how federalism and the staggered nature of the federal, state, and municipal electoral calendars affect legislators' career opportunities and consequently the extent to which they represent their district's local interests. I also test and find evidence for support of a mechanism for an electoral connection based on building personal reputation rather than party discipline. The second essay uses the case of a recent tax reform to examine legislative voting and electoral accountability. I find that voters affected by a tax hike punish their incumbent parties. However, this effect is conditional on the position-taking of members of congress. Moreover, parties that offer clear alternatives to the negative consequences of reform can increase their electoral gains from voters’ retrospection. The third essay examines the relationship between descriptive representation and women’s political engagement. Previous research on the potential role model effect of female officeholders finds mixed results in terms of female candidacies across a wide range of contexts. I take wider view and test for role model effects across different levels of the candidate emergence process. I find evidence of engagement effects among women in the mass public as well as women seeking party nominations, but no evidence for role model effects at the candidate-level in congressional elections. Using a dataset on the candidate nomination processes of a major party, I find evidence that party decisions in candidate selection methods attenuate possible role model effects.
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