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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Graduate Exit Seminar

Jun 13, 2013, 9:30am - 10:30am

A Graduate Exit Seminar for Thursday, June 13, 2013

Time: 9:30 a.m.

Location: 245 Kottman Hall

Speaker: Mauricio Javier Rodriguez

Title: The Social Bases of the Vote for the Left in Ecuador 2002-2006 — The Effects of Socioeconomic, Demographic and Regional Attributes of Places

The rise of the left and the emergence of indigenous political parties are the two most significant and unexpected developments in Latin American politics of the last two decades. Until recently, comparative political science and political sociology studies attributed these changes to a generalized reaction against neoliberal policies implemented in the continent since the end of the 1980s. However, recent research shows that reactions to market-oriented policies have been only moderate among Latin American voters. Studies show that there has been indeed an ideological shift among electorates, but one that could be best described as a move toward the left and not to the left. Nevertheless, left-leaning and socialist presidential candidates have consistently won elections  since 1998 in various countries. Using the case of Ecuador, this thesis explores the social bases of this support for the left. While the vast majority of studies rely on public opinion data, this thesis addresses the question of what places have supported the left in greater proportion, analyzing voting distributions across sub-national units vis-à-vis aggregate level data about their socioeconomic, demographic and regional characteristics. In this sense, this thesis offers a new perspective on the electoral success of the left in Ecuador, and provides empirical and theoretical insights to engage in broader discussions about the factors that structure people's voting behavior.