The advance of democracy in Latin America over the past quarter century has contributed significantly to ensuring respect for fundamental political freedoms, civil liberties, and human rights.

This updated and expanded edition of Democracies in Development highlights how a legitimate and effective democracy is also essential for sustainable economic and social development.

The book analyses the effects of institutions on the functioning of democratic systems, identifies regional trends in political reform, assesses the value of reforms in contributing to enhanced democratic governance, and offers some tentative conclusions about the types of reforms that may hold promise for strengthening democracy.

Chapters focus on the link between the quality of democratic politics and development, citizens’ attitudes towards democracy and their evolution over time, trends in the levels of electoral participation, the structure and operation of electoral and party systems, the rules in place for regulating the financing of politics, the balance of power between the executive and legislature, the authority and political independence of accountability agencies, and the nature and efficacy of direct democracy mechanisms.


Publication date
01 June 2007
Number of pages
Inter-American Development Bank
1-59782-036-9 (Print)





1. The Role of the State and Politics in Latin American Development (1950–2005)
Edmundo Jarquín and Koldo Echebarría

2. The Effects of Presidential Election Systems on Democratic Governability
J. Mark Payne and Andrés Allamand Zavala

3. Legislative Electoral Systems and Democratic Governability
J. Mark Payne

4. Balancing Executive and Legislative Prerogatives: The Role of Constitutional and Party-Based Factors
J. Mark Payne

5. Institutions of Democratic Accountability in Latin America: Legal versus Actual Performance
Fernando Carrillo-Flórez

6. Party Systems and Democratic Governability
J. Mark Payne

7. Intraparty Democratic Processes and the Financing of Political Parties
Daniel Zovatto G. and Flavia Friedenberg

8. Direct Democracy Institutions
Daniel Zovatto G.

9. Trends in Electoral Participation Mercedes
Mateo Díaz and J. Mark Payne

10. Gauging Public Support for Democracy
Mercedes Mateo Díaz and J. Mark Payne


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Democracies in Development: Politics and Reform in Latin America

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