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Institutional trust and congressional autonomy in Latin America : expectations, performance, and confidence in Peru's legislature

Confianza Pública y Autonomía Legislativa en América Latina: Expectativas, Desempeño, y Confianza en el Congreso del Perú
Institutionelles Vertrauen und Kongressautonomie in Lateinamerika: Erwartungen, Entwicklungen und Vertrauen in die peruanische Legislative
[journal article]

Levitt, Barry S.

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Abstract What role do Latin Americans expect legislatures to play vis-à-vis the executive? How do expectations shape political trust in a developing democracy like Peru? This article introduces new indicators gauging citizens' current perceptions of, and idealized expectations for, the institutional independence of their elected assemblies. It uses 2007 data to test the hypothesis that the gap between the two indicators – the "legislative autonomy gap" - predicts trust in Congress. Most Peruvians claimed to prefer a more autonomous legislature. And citizens whose high expectations for institutional independence were adequately met were more likely to express confidence in Congress. However, having low expectations of congressional autonomy met also enhanced confidence in that institution. Trust in Congress proved to be pragmatic too, tied to perceptions of strong national economic performance, confidence in political parties, approval of congressional leadership, and approval of the same president from whom most Peruvians wished Congress would become more independent.

¿Qué quiere el ciudadano latinoamericano de su asamblea legislativa, respecto del ejecutivo? ¿Cómo se constituye la confianza ciudadana en una democracia en desarrollo como la del Perú? Este artículo introduce nuevos indicadores de percepciones actuales y expectativas idealizadas de la autonomía institucional del congreso. Con datos de opinión pública del 2007, pone a prueba la hipótesis de que la brecha entre estos dos indicadores predice la confianza en el congreso. Una mayoría de peruanos dice que prefiere una legislatura más autónoma. La confianza ciudadana en el congreso se vincula son la satisfacción de sus anhelos de independencia institucional. Pero el satisfacer una expectativa de baja autonomía legislativa también aumentaría confianza en dicha asamblea. Además, la confianza política resulta ser pragmática, producto de percepciones ciudadanas del desempeño económico, de los partidos políticos y el liderazgo legislativo, y del mismo presidente de que el congreso supuestamente debería independizarse.
Keywords Peru; developing country; Andean Region; executive power; legislative; autonomy; parliament; government; separation of powers; South America
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; Judiciary
Method descriptive study
Free Keywords Political Science; comparative politics; Latin America; trust; political institutions; legislative branch; separation of powers; ciencia política; Perú; América Latina; confianza; instituciones políticas; congreso; asambleas legislativas; separación de poderes; 1996-2008
Document language English
Publication Year 2011
Page/Pages p. 73-105
Journal Journal of Politics in Latin America, 3 (2011) 2
ISSN 1868-4890
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works
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