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Party dynamics in the Mexican chamber of deputies: power networks and committee appointments

Caballero-Sosa, Lila (2013) Party dynamics in the Mexican chamber of deputies: power networks and committee appointments. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Empirically, the aim of this thesis is to understand how national party dynamics determine legislative behaviour in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies. Through a case study of the 60th Congress (2006-2009), I sought to identify the informal rules that the parties have locked in for determining appointments to legislative committees and the Directive Board. The first part of the case study overviews the historical evolution of political parties in Mexico and shows how these have adopted the behaviours and strategies that affect their performance in Congress. This is complemented with an empirical description of the Chamber, its rules and the organisation of party groups in the 60th Congress, which presents a clear picture of how parties create informal rules and lock them in. The case study ends with a quantitative analysis of background information of 440 members of the 60th Congress, showing that parties have a tight control over political careers, facilitated by the existence of term limits and the political careerism that characterises the political elite. I conclude that the Mexican political system has been shaped by the three main parties to suit their interests, thereby undermining the quality of democracy. Following the theoretical precepts of historical institutionalism, this research claims that Mexican institutions emerge and change through collective agreements of actors, who are responsible for making institutional paths dependent. I argue that path dependency in Mexico is conditional, in that elites have been willing to make some institutional changes but not others, depending on the extent to which creating new rules has a negative impact on their power. An innovative view of path dependency, this finding is the main theoretical contribution of my work, complemented by contributions to party and legislative organisation theories with aims at explaining legislative parties’ behaviour in imperfect institutional settings.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Lila Caballero-Sosa
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Hix, Simon and Philip, George

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