Comparative Studies

Research Projects:

The institutional development of representative government in liberal Italy (1861-1922) and republican Brazil (1891-1930)

Description: The main purpose of this project is to compare the operation of representative institutions in republican Brazil (1891-1930) and liberal Italy (1861-1922). These are two experiences widely studied in historical and legal literature, but completely neglected by political scientists of both countries. As a result, the project is born with the intention of applying the dominant methodological discussion in current political science to these two cases. To this end, it was decided that the focus of the study on Brazilian and Italian parliaments should be within three aspects: 1) perception of the society of that time on representative institutions; 2) legislative outputs; 3) organisation of internal works. This approach aims to show, alongside the dominant view on parliaments of that time, how effectively the pattern of relationship between executive and legislature and its institutional performance was conducted.

Professor in charge: Paolo Ricci (


Constitutionalism and Democracy in Comparative Perspective

Description: The purpose is the formulation of a Constitutional Analysis Methodology in Political Science, developed between 2004 and 2005 with the support of CNPq. We achieved success in formulating a constitutional analysis methodology (MAC), and based on it, we conducted the first empirical analyses involving the Brazilian constitution of 1988 and its subsequent amendments. Using MAC, we were able to define with relative accuracy the profile of a constitutional text, distinguishing fundamental principles of devices that enable public policies. The formulation of MAC was preceded by a theoretical reflection on the role of the constitution in modern and contemporary political systems, from which we developed criteria for the classification of constitutional devices as polity (basic principles of operating organisation of the state and political institutions) and policy (public policies that were, for various reasons, formally elevated to the constitutional level). In continuity, this project has three main objectives: 1 - proceed with the analysis of Brazilian constitutions before 1988, and of state constitutions; 2 - expand the theoretical model and empirical investigation in two crucial dimensions of the relationship between constitution and democratic regimes; and 3 - make the database of the project Constitutionalism and Democracy available on the Internet for access to the national and international academic community.

Professor in charge: Rogerio Bastos Arantes (


Crime and Judicial Reform Policies in Latin America

Description: This project aims to summarize the proposals for judicial reform in Latin America over the past two decades and the expected effects of these policies on safety (crime control).

Professor in charge: Leandro Piquet Carneiro (


Government and governance in large cities: Paris, London, Mexico City, and São Paulo

Description: The purpose of the research is to comparatively analyse the governance patterns present in large cities, focusing on São Paulo, Paris, London, and Mexico City, in cooperation with teams from Science Po, Paris, Bartlet School of London, and CIDE of Mexico. We do not expect to find unique or consistent patterns of government and governance in each city, or between levels of government, private initiative, and (legal and illegal) civil society groups, acting within various relational and institutional environments. Theoretically, the aim is to overcome the classic question of ‘who governs?,’ wondering ‘who governs what?’ and ‘who governs when the state does not?’ The comparison follows the logic of the case studies, investigating the presence of processes and their combination order, aiming to specify under which conditions do they form and operate the various found governance patterns. The Project has three undergraduate and three freshmen graduate students (2012).

Professor in charge: Eduardo Cesar Marques (


Political institutions, executive-legislative interaction patterns, and governing capability

Description: The research aims to show the importance of variables of institutional nature, especially the extension of the executive and legislative branches and the configuration of the internal legislative organisation, in determining the pattern of relationships between executive and legislative and in government performance in democratic regimes. The research is structured from the discussion on the Brazilian case, but it has comparative scope.

Professor in charge: Fernando Magalhães Papaterra Limongi (


International Metropolitan Observatory

Description: Comparative research involving researchers from the United States, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Belgium, India, South Africa, Czech Republic, Canada, and Brazil on the mechanisms of coordination of metropolitan areas for public service management and their egalitarian effects.

Professor in charge: Marta Teresa da Silva Arretche (


Redistributive Policies in Latin-American Federal Democracies of the Third Wave: The Effect of Governor Elections

Description: This research project is guided by three questions aimed to test if there are specific spending increases before elections and if other types of expenditures are incurred by the governments of Argentinean provinces and Brazilian states: 1) since democratisation, have elections served as a catalyst for change in the composition of Brazilian states?; 2) are governor elections held during democratic transition more prone to cause major changes in budget allocations to specific types of expenditures in provinces or states?; and finally 3) what is the impact of federalism on the fiscal behaviour of Argentinean provinces and Brazilian states in election years? To answer these questions, this project will conduct an analysis of how governor elections influenced the composition of spending in provincial governments in Argentina and state institutions in Brazil from the beginning of democratisation until 2009.

Professor in charge: Lorena Guadalupe Barberia (


The new Left in Latin America

Description: Comparative and collaborative project that aims to analyse the different experiences of governments labelled as left-wing elected in Latin America. It inquiries if there are: 1) common ideologies and practices; and 2) innovative government policies, distinguished from the ‘left-wing’ governments of their predecessors. We focus on social policies, respect for human rights, forms of political participation, and citizenship.

Researchers: Cynthia Arnson, Woodrow Wilson Centre; Felipe Agüero, University of Miami·and FLACSO - Chile: Leslie Bethell, Oxford University, UK; Javier Corrales, Amherst College; Robert Kaufman, Rutgers University; Eugenio Lahera, Chile XXI and Princeton Uniersity; Juan Pablo Luna, University Católica, Chile; René Mayorga, Centro Boliviano de Estudios Multidisciplinarios (CEBEM) and Woodrow Wilson Centre: Cynthia McClintock, The George Washington University and Woodrow Wilson Centre: Kenneth Roberts, Cornell University; Roberto Russel, Universidad Torcuato de Tella, Argentina: Ana Maria Sanjuan, Universidad Central de Venezuela. Funding: Woodrow Wilson Centre for Scholars, Washington.

Professor in charge: Maria Hermínia Brandão Tavares de Almeida (