Quality of Democracy Audit / Policy Memo – Argentina

SOURCES THAT ARE INCLUDED MUST BE USED, NO OUTSIDE SOURCES!A. JustificationAt the time of their founding, Latin American countries drew inspiration fromthe United States and its system of government based on democratically electedpresidents subject to checks and balances from independent and co-equal branches ofgovernment. Yet democracy proved to be little more than an aspiration during mostof the region’s independent history with countries fluctuating repeatedly, often inquick succession, from popularly elected leaders to dictatorships. Democracy failed totake root in even the wealthiest and most industrialized countries in the region asexemplified by repressive military dictatorships that ruled the Southern Cone duringthe 1970s.However, starting in the late 1970s and gathering momentum during the1980s, Latin American dictatorships were replaced by popularly electedgovernments. This time really did prove different. Despite setbacks and persistent(and often well-justified) concerns about tangible results of democracy (itsdeliverables), today all but two Latin American countries qualify as functioning (ifsomewhat flawed) democracies.Democracy is, for now, to quote Linz and Stepan (1996, 15), “the only game intown” in Latin America. With that problem resolved, social scientists have turnedtheir attention to a new problem: the quality of said democracies: How far are today’s democratically elected governments from what waspromised to the electorate prior to transition? Specifically, what are the main strengths and weaknesses of each of theregion’s democracies?You will tackle these questions by conducting an audit of the quality ofdemocracy in a Latin American country of your choosing. This assignment combinedwith class lectures on the larger political trends in the region’s recent history, willprovide you with a more detailed and nuanced picture of Latin American Politics.B. Assignment1) You are to research and write a policy memo evaluating the state of democracy Argentina. The memo shouldbe about 2,500 words or 10 pages long (double-spaced).2) Begin by understanding the concept of democratic quality and the ways in whichit can assessed. Quality of democracy in the country you select should be assessedfollowing the framework developed by Levine and Molina (2011). Said frameworkevaluates the quality of a country’s democracy based on five criteria: 1) Electoral Decision; 2) Participation; 3) Responsiveness; 4.) Accountability;and 5) Sovereignty. Read:o Daniel M. Levine, and Jose Molina, editors. 2011. The Quality ofDemocracy in Latin America. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers,Chapters 1.3) Get acquainted with the history of and the main political issues in your country.For that, you are required to read your country’s chapter in: Skidmore, Thomas E., Peter H. Smith, and James N. Green. 2010. ModernLatin America, 7th Edition. New York: Oxford University Press. The entire book will be posted to blackboard.4) Once you have the background, get acquainted with the main contemporary issuesaffecting your country. For that, you should, look for articles written on your countryover the last decade in Journal of Democracy and Current History (available throughthe library’s website).5) Once you have a feel for your country, it is time to get caught up on contemporaryevents there by, at the very least, reading the last two years of news stories on yourcountry as reported in: Latin American Weekly Report (www.latinnews.com), the premier source forin-depth analysis on current events in the region. The last three years of LAWR will be available in a compressed file onblackboard. Additional back issues can be accessed through the library’swebsite: http://libproxy.lib.csusb.edu/login?url=http://www.latinnews.com/component/k2/itemlist/category/33.html?archive=true&archive_id=33&update=true6) Assessment Criteria:Judge your country in terms of Green (good), Yellow (shows some dangers), Red(serious problem) in terms of the following five criteria:1) Electoral Decision: at its minimum democracies must have elections that are freefair, frequent, and competitive, and lead to the designation of officials who have realpower to govern. For elections to be legitimate demonstrations of the majority’spolitical will civil rights and political freedoms must be respected. Possible Sources and Questions to Address:o Freedom Houseo Electoral Integrity Projecto News articles on fraud, electoral manipulation or attempts to tip theplaying field in the interests of the incumbent president or party.2) Participation: includes both participation in formal political processes like votingor access to government offices and membership in groups that exercise suchparticipation collectively, for example, political parties and civil societyorganizations. It is through participation that citizens choose their government,control it, and influence policymaking either directly or through representatives. Possible Sources and Questions to Address:o Americas Quarterly Social Inclusion Indexo Voter Turnout: how high is it and how has it evolved over time?o News articles on protests and mass mobilization. What are the maincivil society and social organizations seeking to influence politics?3) Responsiveness: the democratic process induces the government to enact andimplement policies citizens demand. It manifests itself through clear links betweencitizens, leaders and policies. Possible Sources and Questions to Address:o LAPOP and/or Latinobarometro: surveys will demonstrate what issuescitizens are most concerned about. This will be your baseline in what thepopulation wants.o News on elections: what were the main issues during the campaign?What did the eventual winner promise? Are these issues beingaddressed by the government?o News articles on protests and mass mobilization: what are groupsdemanding when they protest? And, more importantly, how doesgovernment respond to these protests? Does it repress? Does it listenand ignore? Does it listen and do something about it?4) Accountability: extent to which public officials, whether elected or appointed, aresubject to control and possible sanction. It can be both formal and informal: formalmeans of accountability are institutionalized in laws, administrative norms, andindependent or semi-independent offices specifically charged with ensuringaccountability, such as attorneys general, public defenders, and independentelectoral commissions. Accountability is also made possible informally throughprotests and by the media. Extent of and responses to corruption also fall into thiscategory. Possible Sources and Questions to Address:o News articles on the performance of agencies outside the executive: Dothe courts and the legislature challenge the executive?o Freedom House Freedom of the Press Reporto Transparency International Corruption Perception Indexo News articles on major corruption scandals: what have been the mainscandals in recent years? How have governments responded?5) Sovereignty: those elected must have real power to govern. They cannot be puppets,and not be so constrained by nondemocratic forces, whether domestic (the military)or foreign (the U.S. or other powers), that their independence is questioned. Possible Sources and Questions to Address:o News articles on economic threats to sovereignty: What is the level of foreign debt and who is it owed to? Is itconsidered sustainable? Is the economy dependent on the price of one or a handful ofcommodities? If so, how has it affected the government’s ability tocarry out its objectives?o News articles on immigration: do a large share of the country’s citizenslive in another country? Is there a credible risk that they will bemassively deported back to the home country? How dependent is the country’s economy on foreign remittances?And are those remittances in danger of stopping?o News article on the military: does it hold a veto over the government’sactions?o News articles on gangs and organized crime: do these groups preventthe government from providing basic security in some parts of thecountry? Do these groups have significant control over parts of thecountryD. Memo Structure Before you start writing, it is recommended that you study the two memotemplates that have been e-mailed to you. Introduction (1 Page): should be written last, once you have actually completedthe audit. It should provide a succinct overview of the state of democracy inyour country by summarizing the main findings presented in the body of yourmemo. Background/History (1/2 Page): brief analysis of the history of democracy sinceits most recent transition and other notable events worth mentioning. Audit (7 Pages): assess and rate the quality of democracy in your country. Youshould assign your country score each of the five criteria defined by Levine andMolina.o 1) Electoral Decision;o 2) Participation;o 3) Responsiveness;o 4) Accountability; ando 5) Sovereigntyo 6) Add up your scores to calculate an overall quality of democracy score.The scale, approach to grading and weight you assign each componentare entirely up to you. Recommendations (1 1/2 Pages): based on the audit of your country’sdemocracy make and justify ONE AND ONLY ONE concrete policyrecommendations that you consider to be the most urgent and believe wouldbe the most impactful toward improving the quality of democracy in yourcountry.E. DeadlinesF. CitationThis is a research project and as such all sources should be cited. Use Chicago Styleauthor-date (NOT FOOTNOTES): https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-2.html. Follow the template carefully. Points will be deducted for bad citation.Grading RubricExpectation PointsTitle Paper should include a title. Titles should be concise and provide the reader with a general idea of the paper’s mainconclusion or contribution (i.e. Persistence Amid Adversity: Audit of Paraguay’s Democracy, not “Final Paper”)‐5Introduction You will be judged on how well your introduction accomplishes three goals:1) State the purpose of the memo (i.e. provide an updated assessment of the quality of democracy in Bolivia).2) Provide a brief recount of what your paper’s main findings and conclusions. Academic and professional writing isnot supposed to be like a mystery novel (with surprises jumping out as you as you advance and with the biggestplot points reserved for the very end). Introductions introduce what will be discussed in the body of the paper andentice readers to keep going. Someone who just reads the introduction should come out with a good general ideaof what the paper argues.3) Provide a general overview of how your paper is organized. This serves as a roadmap for the reader (i.e. this memois divided into three main sections. After a brief review of the country’s history since transitioning to democracy,it reviews the current state of democracy based on the five criteria laid out by Levine and Molina (2011). Itconcludes by recommending XXX.15Background Keep it short and stick to the most important events. Democratization is the starting point for the background (i.e. don’twrite about the military dictatorship or when Columbus visited).10Electoral Decision In each section you will be judged on how well you accomplish two goals:1) Demonstrate clear understanding of each concept. This requires that the supporting examples you provide reallydo match the concept you are evaluating in that section (i.e. you really are assessing the state of participation inthe participation section and not any of the other categories).2) Conduct thorough and high quality research. Each section will have a significant amount of relevant supportingevidence both from general assessment sources (i.e. Transparency International’s Corruption Index or FreedomHouse’s Freedom of the Press Report) and, in particular, specific events relative to each category as reported inLatin American Weekly Report.10Participation 10Responsiveness 10Accountability 10Sovereignty 10Assessment Use clear criteria to:1) Measure performance in each category,2) Aggregate those scores into a single summary score3) Briefly justify the main reasons for the summary score10PolicyRecommendationMake and justify ONE AND ONLY ONE policy recommendation to improve democracy in your country. You will be evaluatedon how well you:1) Define and develop a concrete, specific and realistic policy recommendation.2) Justify (based on your earlier assessment) your recommendation. You must make the case as to why the specificchange you are recommending would be the most impactful measure for improving the quality of democracy inyour country.15Citation Cite sources in accordance to Chicago Manual of Style, author‐date in‐text citation style. Failure to follow instructions willresult in lost points. An exception is made for Latin American Weekly Report, which can be cited the following way: (LAWR02/24/19)‐5Meeting With Me As this is a major assignment, it is recommended that you meet with me to discuss your ideas during office hours. Studentswho come to office hours with a well thought‐out game plan will receive an extra five points.+5Political Science


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