GV444      Half Unit
Democracy and Development in Latin America

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Francesco Panizza


This course is available on the MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, MSc in Comparative Politics and MSc in Global Politics. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Other postgraduate students may follow the course with permission. This course is capped at 2 groups. The deadline for applications is 17:00 on Tuesday 1 October 2019. You will be informed of the outcome by 17:00 on Wednesday 2 October 2019.

Course content

The course studies the relations between democracy, political institutions and economic development in contemporary Latin America. It aims at developing skills for independent analysis of the advances and setbacks of democracy and development in the region. Although due attention is given to country differences, the course approaches the study of democracy and development in the region thematically rather than on a country by country basis. The first five weeks focus on the study of democracy and political institutions. Topics to be covered include the condition of democracy, the  nature of the state, presidentialism, parties and party systems, civil society and social movements and informal institutions. The second half of the course studies the economic development of the region since transition to democracy in the 1980s. It looks at the economic context of democratisation, the politics of neoliberal reform in the 1990s, attempts at alternative models of development in the early 21st century and the social and economic transformations of the region over the past decade.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour of lectures and 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

Students on this course will have a reading week in week 6 of the LT for dissertation preparation and advice.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to submit two non-assessed essays and make at least one seminar presentation.

Indicative reading

ECLAC, Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2018 (www.cepal.org); ECLAC Social Panorama of Latin America 2018 (www.cepal.org); Forewarker J and D. Treviso (eds) (2016) Democracy and its Discontents in Latin America. Grugel, J. and P. Riggirozzi (2009) Governance After Neoliberalism in Latin America Helmen, G. and S. Levitsky (eds.) Informal Institutions and Democracy. Lessons from Latin America. Mainwaring S. (2018) Party Systems in Latin America; Mainwaring, S. and A. Perez Linan (2015) Cross Currents in Latin America, Journal of Democracy 26 (1); Panizza,F.(2009) Contemporary Latin America: Development and Democracy Beyond the Washington Consensus, Philip,G and F. Panizza (2011) The Triumph of Politics. The Return of the Left in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador; O'Donnell, G.(1994) 'Delegative Democracy' Journal of Democracy 5, 1;  Schneider, B. R. (2013) Hierarchical Capitalism in Latin America.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 22.9
Merit 62.5
Pass 14.6
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2018/19: 7

Average class size 2018/19: 7

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication