Legislative Instability and Party Power in Paraguay
Carrizosa, Andy Manuel
Doctor of Philosophy
Social choice theories of legislative politics often expect legislatures to function in a somewhat chaotic and unstable manner (Arrow, 1951; Riker, 1988). However, this unstable nature of legislatures has often not been directly observed in legislatures (Tullock, 1967). While some authors have argued that this instability is unobserved because legislative behavior is constrained by institutions (Shepsle and Weingast, 1981), most other authors have instead focused on analyzing the extent to which legislative outcomes were partisan or non-partisan, while taking legislative stability for granted—through the assumption of unidimensional preferences of legislators (Krehbiel, 1999; Cox and McCubbins, 1993, 2005; Krehbiel, 1998). Paraguay provides an exciting opportunity to model the extent to which political parties have effects on legislative outcomes in a situation where legislative instability is more directly observable. In Paraguay, 1) the executive is extremely weak meaning that legislators are capable of behaving sincerely, 2) legislators have weak ideologies, 3) legislators display dynamic preferences, and 4) constitutional, legislative, and partisan institutions provide weak agenda-setting powers to legislative actors. All in all, this means that legislators behave in a way that is more akin to the instability predictions of Arrow (1951) and Riker (1988). However, theories of political parties under these conditions do not currently exist. Therefore, in this book I generalize unidimensional theories of political parties to conditions of multidimensional, dynamic, legislative preferences using Paraguay as an instrument of this generalization. The main findings of this book is that despite a somewhat unstable policymaking process, majority parties in Paraguay are able to produce non-centrist, partisan policy outcomes from the legislature. That being said, parties and intra-party factions at times have competing interests. Intra-party factions prefer most of the concentration of benefits the party can accomplish to be centered on the preferences of the intra-party faction itself—but this may lead to a weaker party overall as it foments intra-party divisions. In contrast, political parties as a whole are more capable at concentrating benefits in themselves when these benefits are equally distributed among all intra-party factions. The theory of fractious parties developed in this book allow for the exploration of these hierarchical intra-party dilemmas in a way that is not fully possible using unidimensional models of legislative outcomes.
Legislatures; Political Parties; Paraguay; Instability