E-mail — firstname.lastname@example.org
Areas of Expertise —
Institutional Theory, Property Rights, Political Economy of Argentina, Decentralization, Corruption, Latin American Politics, and Politics of Foreign Assistance
Major — Comparative Politics
Minor — Public Policy
B.A., George Washington University
M.B.A., Johns Hopkins University
Ph.D. May 2010, George Washington University
Dissertation Title: The Evolution of Property Rights in Argentina, 1853-1949
Committee: Cynthia McClintock (Chair), Kimberly Morgan, and Peter Klaren (History)
In my dissertation, I untangle the institution of property rights in Argentina and identify a framework for future study. Most literature on institutions in Argentina has utilized either a ‘big bang’ explanation or critical juncture framework that emphasizes the actions of Juan Perón in the 1940s. In contrast, new institutional economics has suggested that the characteristics of property rights in a country like Argentina are pre-determined by Spanish colonialism.
My findings refute these theoretical perspectives and argue that the evolution of the institution of property rights is the result of a multitude of individual, incremental policy reforms, often made in response to economic and social crises. While the theory of incremental change may explain how the institution evolved, it cannot explain why. The dissertation indicates that de jure and de facto conditions of property rights have different explanations. The characteristics of de jure changes are explained by variation in the status of the ‘formula for prosperity,’ socio-economic conditions, and bureaucratic capacity. In contrast, de facto conditions are largely susceptible to the unintended consequences of the de jure changes and the law of limited cognitive ability. This new understanding of the evolution of property rights contributes a piece to solving the Argentine puzzle.