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Title page for ETD etd-04152014-034604

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Schwarz-Blum, Vivian
Author's Email Address vivian.schwarz@ciudadaniabolivia.org
URN etd-04152014-034604
Title Citizens in the New Latin American State: Politics, the Economy and the Dynamics of Democratic Legitimacy in Bolivia and Latin America
Degree PhD
Department Political Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Mitchell A. Seligson, Ph.D. Committee Chair
Dinorah Azpuru, Ph.D. Committee Member
Jonathan Hiskey, Ph.D. Committee Member
Marc J. Hetherington, Ph.D. Committee Member
  • Political legitimacy
  • Latin America
  • democracy
  • public opinion
  • political trust
  • political institutions
Date of Defense 2013-11-01
Availability unrestricted
In recent years, the influence of the New Left has grown in Latin America, posing a serious challenge to representative democracy. Governments of the New Left have undertaken extensive institutional reforms that have undermined core elements of liberal democracy. While reducing economic and social inequality, and making major strides in poverty reduction, these regimes, especially in South America, have systematically curtailed civil liberties.

Through these reforms and policies governments question and weaken values and principles that are central to democratic life, because while these new Latin American regimes are elected, in many other ways they do not subscribe to broader democratic principles. So, what are the new Latin American democracies like? And how are citizens accommodating to the changes?

This work takes a quantitative approach to understanding how citizens perceive the legitimacy of the New State in Latin America within the context of institutional reforms and the political project of the New Left by taking an in-depth look at Bolivia as a case study.

The analysis includes the effect of the economic context in addition to the political context on individual perceptions of legitimacy. It approaches the issue of political legitimacy using two dimensions of measurement: political trust and institutional performance, and argues that the combined performance of democratic institutions in all areas of State activity determines the general level of democratic legitimacy in each country.

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