Measuring political elites’ renewal: Legislative amateurism in Latin America

Gabriel Levita


November 3, 2021 12:00PM Zoom

WHO: Gabriel Levita is assistant researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) and assistant professor at the National University of Lanús, Argentina. Currently, he is affiliate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University as a Fulbright visiting scholar. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Studies from the University of Buenos Aires and the École des Hautes Études en Sciencies Sociales. His research agenda includes political elites, Latin American legislatures, populism and political outsiders in Latin America, Argentine politics, and agricultural policy in Mercosur countries. He has published on these subjects in journals in political science and sociology. His book “Movilizar la nación. Trayectorias y discursos en el Senado después de 2001” (Universidad Nacional de La Plata, 2018) focuses on the Argentine senators in the 21st century. ​

WHAT: Measuring political elites’ renewal: Legislative amateurism in Latin America

Members of Congress’ legislative experience has several social and political implications that go beyond institutions. It’s a sensor that measures the circulation of elites and, thus, captures the porosity of politics and the pulse of democracies. Besides, it is an important variable in its own right since it has consequences for the lawmaking process, the legislative-executive relations, and the legislative work in general.
In this work-in-progress research -conducted together with Cristian Márquez (University of Salamanca)-, we analyze comparatively the legislative amateurism of 18 Latin American legislatures during the last three decades. We look forward to explaining the determinants of amateurism by testing the main extant theories. The first results show a heterogeneous outlook among countries and within them. What explains these variations? What are their possible consequences for democracy in the region?