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On-line version ISSN 1851-9601


BOTERO, Felipe. Carreras Políticas en América Latina: Discusión teórica y ajuste de supuesto. Postdata [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.2. ISSN 1851-9601.

Because it is derived from the US case, the literature suggests a model of political careers in which individuals aspire to occupy a congressional seat and wish to be reelected continuously. This model does not fit with the dynamic of careers in Latin America. This article adjusts the literature's assumptions in order to explain political careers in the region. After an analysis of the literature, I show that Latin American politicians make career decisions based on rational calculi of benefits, probabilities of attaining office and costs in which they may incur. Furthermore, I assert that politicians have "progressive" ambitions. That is, they seek higher office when the expected benefits are greater than its costs. I also explain how careers are hierarchical and that it is possible to rank different offices -within and beyond the Legislature- according to how desirable they are for politicians. In sum, I argue that Latin American politicians wish to make their careers progress. However, progress is not where the canonical model of careers suggests.

Keywords : Political careers; Reelection; Ambition theory; Progressive ambition; Incumbency advantage.

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