UCL Institute of the Americas


AMER0025: Money and Politics in Latin America

***NOT RUNNING IN 2023/2024***

Module convenor: Dr Néstor Castañeda

This module is an introduction to the role of money in the policymaking process in Latin America. The module seeks to evaluate the consequences of special interest politics for economic growth, democracy, and redistribution. Part I will focus on the main theories of collective action and pressure groups. Part II will offer a comparative analysis of political finance regulation in Latin America. Part III will analyze the strategies of special interest groups to influence policy outcomes and public opinion in the region. Part IV will focus on the consequences of special interest politics for electoral competition, political representation, and inequality.

This module seeks to critically analyze the role of money in politics in Latin America and their implications for democratization and economic development. In particular, this module analyzes the following questions: Who buys influence? How much influence does money have in determining who seeks and who wins elective office? How much does money spent on contributions and lobbying influence government actions and policies? How do party competition and electoral uncertainty affects political finance regulation?

This module is assessed by a 4,000-word essay.

Introductory reading

  • Casas-Zamora, K., 2005. Paying for Democracy: Political Finance and State Funding for Parties. ECPR Press.
  • Durand, F., Silva, E., 1998. Organized Business, Economic Change, and Democracy in Latin America. North-South Center Press.
  • Fairfield, T., 2015. Private Wealth and Public Revenue in Latin America: Business Power and Tax Politics. Cambridge University Press.
  • Fuentes, C., 2004. El Costo de La Democracia. Flasco-Chile.
  • Grossman, G.M., 2002. Special Interest Politics. MIT Press.
  • International IDEA, 2012. Political Finance Regulations Around the World: An Overview of the International IDEA Database. International IDEA.
  • Kingstone, P.R., 1999. Crafting Coalitions for Reform: business preferences, political institutions, and neoliberal reform in Brazil. Pennsylvania State University Press.
  • Posada-Carbó, E., Malamud, C. (eds.), 2005. The Financing of Politics: Latin American and European Perspectives. Institute for the Study of the Americas.
  • Schneider, B.R., 2013. Hierarchical Capitalism in Latin America: Business, Labor, and the Challenges of Equitable Development. Cambridge University Press.
  • Schneider, B.R., 2004. Business Politics and the State in Twentieth-Century Latin America. Cambridge University Press.