Skip to main content

Duke-UNC Latin American Working Group Mini-Conference

Speaker: Caitlin Andrews-Lee and Alisha Holland
Date: April 22, 2022
Time: 9:00am-12:00pm
Address: Virtual

Join visitors Caitlin Andrews-Lee of Ryerson University and Alisha Holland of Harvard University, alongside graduate student presenters Diego Romero and Nicolás de la Cerda, in this year's Duke/UNC LAWG mini-conference. Together, they will discuss the various manuscripts described below.


Caitlin Andrews-Lee
How to Play the Woman Card: The Divergent Gender-Based Performances of Female Leaders in Programmatic Parties and Charismatic Movements

Women who seek executive political office face higher barriers than their male counterparts, in part because people tend to associate the “agentic” traits of leadership with men while associating women with “communal,” supportive roles. To demonstrate their fitness for office without appearing to violate their gender role, female leaders construct “gender-based performances” in which they emphasize preferred gender stereotypes while downplaying others deemed unsuitable. This paper argues that the type of political attachments held by the leader’s primary base of potential supporters—rooted in the party’s programmatic brand or the individual authority of a charismatic leader—may cause female leaders to construct divergent gender-based performances. I document and explain the contrasting performances of female leaders across programmatic and charismatic contexts by comparing two presidents: Michelle Bachelet, who came to power in Chile via a coalition of programmatic parties, and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who rose in Argentina through a charismatic movement. By analyzing speeches, public appearances, and media portrayals of these two women during their campaigns and administrations, the analysis sheds greater light on how and why different types of political attachments can influence how female leaders strategically navigate gender stereotypes to establish legitimacy and exercise power.


Nicolás de la Cerda
Beyond Partisanship: Political Identity Profiles in Latin America

Research in political identities have been dominated by a predominant focus on partisanship. Yet, parties are only one of many political objects with which citizens can identify. I address this gap in the literature by providing a theoretical and empirical framework to understand different profiles of political identification. First, I introduce a multi-item scale to measure the extent to which political labels are understood as social identities. Second, using data from Latin America, I show that three different types of political identities (partisan, ideological, and charismatic) are widely held and distinct empirical constructs. Third, I asses the relative centrality of non-partisan political identities in reference to partisanship in both Argentina and Brazil. Fourth, I demonstrate that ideological and charismatic identities have a distinct effect on a range of different behavioral and attitudinal outcomes. These findings suggest that non-partisan political identities can play a fundamental role shaping political attitudes and behavior, particularly in places where partisanship is weak.


Alisha Holland
Creative Construction: The Rise and Stall of Infrastructure Projects in Latin America

Chapter One previews the main arguments of Holland's book manuscript, Creative Construction: The Rise and Stall of Infrastructure Projects in Latin America. Chapter Five then fleshes out one piece of the argument about how these projects are funded.


Diego Romero
Bureaucratic Capacity and Political Favoritism in Public Procurement

Government contracts are huge business and, in many countries, are associated with considerable corruption. Much research emphasizes bureaucratic improvements as a means to reduce corruption. In this paper, I draw a sharp distinction between the extent to which a bureaucracy is politically controlled and its technical capacity. I argue that in politically controlled bureaucracies, stronger technical capacity facilitates corruption. In such contexts, more capable bureaucrats utilize their skills to shield favored firms from competition using complex strategies that minimize the risk of detection. I test the argument on a novel dataset of 54,623 municipal contracts in Guatemala and 21,631 firm-politician ties. In line with the argument, I find that more capable bureaucracies increase the likelihood of well-connected firms winning contracts through less competitive processes. This paper delivers important policy lessons, an original, widely applicable, measure of political networks and new insights into the sources of corruption.


To join this year's mini-conference, follow the "Read More" link below!