Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226356525 Published September 2012
Paper $30.00 ISBN: 9780226356532 Published September 2012
E-book $7.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226356556 Published September 2012

Democracy and the Left

Social Policy and Inequality in Latin America

Evelyne Huber and John D. Stephens

Evelyne Huber and John D. Stephens

368 pages | 12 figures, 36 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2012
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226356525 Published September 2012
Paper $30.00 ISBN: 9780226356532 Published September 2012
E-book $7.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226356556 Published September 2012

Although inequality in Latin America ranks among the worst in the world, it has notably declined over the last decade, offset by improvements in health care and education, enhanced programs for social assistance, and increases in the minimum wage.

In Democracy and the Left, Evelyne Huber and John D. Stephens argue that the resurgence of democracy in Latin America is key to this change. In addition to directly affecting public policy, democratic institutions enable left-leaning political parties to emerge, significantly influencing the allocation of social spending on poverty and inequality. But while democracy is an important determinant of redistributive change, it is by no means the only factor. Drawing on a wealth of data, Huber and Stephens present quantitative analyses of eighteen countries and comparative historical analyses of the five most advanced social policy regimes in Latin America, showing how international power structures have influenced the direction of their social policy. They augment these analyses by comparing them to the development of social policy in democratic Portugal and Spain.
 
The most ambitious examination of the development of social policy in Latin America to date, Democracy and the Left shows that inequality is far from intractable—a finding with crucial policy implications worldwide.

American Sociological Association: ASA-Political Economy World Systems Award (PEWS)
Won

American Sociological Association: ASA-Sociology of Development Book Award
Won

View Recent Awards page for more award winning books.
Scott Mainwaring, University of Notre Dame
"With the publication of Democracy and the Left, Evelyne Huber and John D. Stephens contribute another major book, adding to their stellar careers. Latin America has long been characterized by high poverty rates and the sharpest inequalities in the world. Huber and Stephens argue persuasively that poverty and inequality are not intractable problems. Through careful research, they show that, because democracy allows progressive political parties and social forces to influence policy and come to power, it generally has a positive impact on poverty and inequality when it lasts for at least twenty years."

Peter Evans, University of California, Berkeley
"Evelyne Huber and John D. Stephens have produced another classic contribution to the literature on the political dynamics of social policy. Combining sophisticated cross-national quantitative analysis with comparative historical analysis founded on encyclopedic knowledge of the cases in question, Huber and Stephens demonstrate how and why politics makes a fundamental difference to national welfare. As Latin America increasingly becomes a reference point for those interested in progressive policy outcomes, this book is a must for the libraries of social scientists and policy makers."

Kurt Weyland, University of Texas
“Evelyne Huber and John D. Stephens have provided the most theoretically profound, empirically thorough, and wide-ranging work that advances the more optimistic view that democracy itself plays a crucial role in stimulating redistribution in Latin America and that the political left is the most important agent in effecting this change. Democracy and the Left is an important, major book that advances a powerful argument about a significant topic and substantiates it with an impressive range of research.”
Choice
“John D. Huber and Evelyne Stevens examine the resurgence of left-wing parties, arguing that the left has used social policy to reverse the rise of inequality in Latin America. Drawing on empirical data, they provide cases studies of five Latin American countries that have used social policy to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. This is an important contribution to both policy formation and analytic development, sure to challenge assumptions and provoke arguments among policy makers, civil society activists, and pundits.”
Journal of Latin American Studies
“In this very welcome and illuminating volume, Evelyne Huber and John D. Stephens show how changing political forces and growing democratisation in Latin America have created the conditions for social policy reforms that are gradually helping to reduce poverty and inequality across the continent.”
Contemporary Sociology
“[Huber and Stephens’s] provocative arguments are built around a sound analytical framework which guides the selection of data and methods used, as well as the claims made. . . . There is also a compelling and specific adaptation and application of theories of policy formation applied to the Latin American context. . . . Without a doubt a massive contribution to Latin American studies.”
Perspectives on Politics
“The excellent Democracy and the Left offers compelling support for Huber and Stephens’s greater optimism about the long-run capacity of democracy and left governments to reduce inequality through redistributive social policy. Drawing from their own previously developed ‘power constellations theory,’ the authors demonstrate how Latin America’s class structure and lack of consistent democracy historically meant a weak Left, how recently lack of state capacity hindered social policy development, and how in the 1980s transnational forces pressed for equality-reducing reforms. [The book] deserves a wide audience, and not only among Latin Americanists.”
Contents
Figures
Tables
Acronyms
Preface and Acknowledgments

1 Introduction
2 Theoretical Framework and Methodological Approach
3 Strategy for Redistribution and Poverty Reduction
4 The Development of Social Policy Regimes in the ISI Period
5 The Determinants of Social Spending, Inequality, and Poverty: Quantitative Evidence
6 Neoliberal Reforms and the Turn to Basic Universalism
7 Iberia and the Advanced Latin American Social Policy Regimes: Explaining the Different Trajectories
8 Conclusion

Notes
References
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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