Alissandra T. Stoyan is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Kansas State University. Her research centers on democracy, institutional change, executive-legislative relations and female executives. She teaches courses in Comparative and Latin American politics. Recent research is published or forthcoming in Governance, Electoral Studies, Political Research Quarterly, and the International Political Science Review. Stoyan is also currently working on a book manuscript. It analyzes how Latin American presidents with ambitious reform agendas implement them through a Constituent Assembly with supreme power to change the political system. For this research, she has conducted extensive fieldwork in Bolivia and Ecuador. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from Union College in Schenectady, NY.
Comparative Political Institutions
Gender and Politics
Latin American And Caribbean Politics
Women Presidential Candidates
Do female executives exercise the authority of their office distinctly from their male counterparts? Anecdotal evidence suggests women legislators are likely to govern in a more consensual manner than men. Yet there has been little systematic research extending such claims to women in executive office. Using an original data set, we evaluate one aspect of policy agenda setting—rates of executive decree issuance—among four male–female pairs of Latin American presidents between 2000 and 2014. Female presidents are generally less prone to rule by decree, but this relationship is conditioned by presidential popularity. Female executives with high presidential approval ratings are less likely to rule via unilateral action than similarly popular male executives, but the gendered differences in decree issuance disappear when executives possess low approval ratings. Our findings have implications for understanding the potential benefits of feminine leadership styles for executive–legislative relations and good governance.
Previous literature on the consequences of decentralization has demonstrated a positive effect on voter participation in subnational elections. However, does this positive effect also extend to national level elections? This paper evaluates the consequences of decentralization-level political participation. Our approach innovates by disaggregating decentralization to uncover the specific dimensions that matter for voting participation. We argue that self-rule (or the authority that subnational units exercise in their own territory) is closely associated with vertical accountability and positively affects voting participation. Moreover, we find that political dimensions of self-rule matter more than fiscal dimensions. Shared-rule (or the authority that subnational units exercise in the country as a whole) has no significant effect on participation since it is more closely related to horizontal accountability. We test our theory in 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries using a hierarchical model with 2010 data at the national and individual-level.
What explains the failure of legislatures with strong constitutionally endowed powers to exert themselves over the executive in practice? We examine the role of legislator professionalization in strengthening the legislature's ability to constrain executive action, conceptualizing legislator professionalization as prior legislative experience and prior professional work experience. We argue that more professionalized legislators, through the skill and knowledge they bring to the policymaking process from prior experience, will be better equipped to challenge executive authority. In a sample of four Latin American countries from 1990 through 2010, we find that legislatures are more likely to curb executive decree issuance when individual legislators are strongly professionalized, controlling for constitutional powers and several other partisan and political factors. Our findings suggest that legislatures composed of more professionalized legislators can constrain executive action, especially in the context of a unified political opposition in the legislature.
This article analyzes theories of institutional trust in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, two developing countries that have shared some historical legacies but currently manifest divergent economic and political trajectories. The evidence confirms that conventional theories emphasizing participation and government performance help us understand institutional trust in both countries. In addition, the analysis emphasizes the analytical leverage gained by exploring the extent to which different facets of engagement have divergent effects on institutional trust. The findings build upon previous research to underscore the importance of considering how context shapes the precise ways in which performance and engagement influence institutional trust, particularly when analyzing the developing world.