Building New Democracies is an Extended Essay on the Main Public Policies of Brazil, Chile, and Mexico that Michel Duquette uses to explore how countries make the transition from an authoritarian regime to a democratic society. Duquette's argument is an interesting blend from the disciplines of public policy and political economy.
The main objective of the book is to follow the process of policy formation in very young democracies and Duquette isolates the specific problems that surround decision-making in a transitional government. Legislating structural change does not guarantee democratic success. The author offers a general model of domestic and international policy-making as a response to the problems of achieving fundamental political reform. The effectiveness of public policies depends on factors including competing ideologies, inexperienced political leaders, rising political organizations, rule by coalition parties, and the influence of local politicians and technocrats. It is with the alliance of grassroot organizations and autonomous institutions, Duquette believes, that social and economic exclusion will be overcome on a national level. Building New Democracies is primary theoretical in its analysis, but integrates many recent empirical findings from a wide body of international and Latin American research, including the author's own field work.
The methodology Duquette employs is genuinely comparative and not merely a juxtaposition of case studies. His approach and conclusions can be applied to broader studies in political science and sociology in addition to contemporary Latin America studies and history.
About the Author
Michel Duquette is a professor in the Department of Political Science at l'Universite de Montreal.