Description: Studies of political parties in Latin America have often been descriptive and not directed to link a theoretical foundation about political parties with qualitative or quantitative empiricism. This was in part because parties in the region were usually perceived as rather unimportant in the political arena. This study attempts to correct this often unjustified proposition by focusing on the development of political parties in five Central American countries: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The analysis focuses particularly on the relationship between party fragmentation, party polarization, the level of democracy, and socio-economic modernization. The quantitative analysis uses a cross-national longitudinal research design and tries to overcome shortcomings in prior descriptive approaches based on case studies. The overall findings show that party fragmentation and party polarization are positively related to the level of democracy in Central America.
Date: May 1994
Creator: Teichgräber, Martin H. (Martin Hubert)