Not available in 2022/23
GV444      Half Unit
Democracy and Development in Latin America

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Francisco Panizza


This course is available on the 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 29 September 2020. You will be informed of the outcome by 17:00 on Wednesday 30 September 2020.

Course content

The course studies the relations between democracy, political institutions and economic development in contemporary Latin America. It aims at providing information and 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.


This course provides a combination of seminars and lectures totalling 20 hours in the Lent term and 2 hours in the Summer term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus lectures and seminars. There will be a reading week in Week 6 of the LT.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to submit one non-assessed essay and to make at least one seminar presentation, as well as contribute to group discussions.

Indicative reading

ECLAC, Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2020 (; ECLAC Social Panorama of Latin America 2020 (; 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 (60%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (30%) and class participation (10%) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2018/19 - 2020/21 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 20
Merit 76.4
Pass 3.6
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Controlled access 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication