University of Notre Dame
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Scott MainwaringScott Mainwaring


My main research interests have revolved around political parties and party systems, democratic and authoritarian regimes, political institutions, and the Catholic Church and politics in Latin America..


I love teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In 2005, I was awarded the James C. Burns, CSC Graduate School Award, given annually to a Notre Dame faculty member for distinguished teaching of graduate students.


Democracies and Dictatorships in Latin America: Emergence, Survival, and FallMy book with Aníbal Pérez-Liñán, Democracies and Dictatorships in Latin America: Emergence, Survival, and Fall, was recently published (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Our book presents a new theory for why political regimes emerge and why they subsequently survive or break down. It then analyzes the emergence, survival, and fall of democracies and dictatorships in Latin America since 1900. We argue for a theoretical approach situated between long-term structural and cultural explanations and short-term explanations that look at the decisions of specific leaders.We focus on the political preferences of powerful actors - the degree to which they embrace democracy as an intrinsically desirable end and their policy radicalism - to explain regime outcomes. We also demonstrate that transnational forces and influences are crucial to understand regional waves of democratization. The book offers the first extended analysis of regime emergence, survival, and failure for all of Latin America over a long period of time.

Democracies and Dictatorships co-won the 2014 American Political Science Association Comparative Democratization Section's Best Book Award and won the 2014 Latin American Studies Association Political Institutions Section best book award.

Volume to honor Guillermo O'Donnell

The founding academic director of the Kellogg Institute, Guillermo O’Donnell, was one of the great figures in the history of comparative politics. Reflections on Uneven Democracies: The Legacy of Guillermo O’Donnell is a tribute to him, published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2014. Contributors include O’Donnell’s coauthor and coeditor, Philippe Schmitter, and many other leading scholars who work on democratization. 

Published, September 2012, University of Notre Dame Press

Volume to honor Alfred Stepan Volume to honor Alfred Stepan
We have two primary goals and a secondary one with this book. We hope to advance understanding of some of the most pressing problems facing democracies across the world. And we wish to honor Alfred Stepan, who did pioneering work on the issues analyzed here. Finally, by highlighting the contributions of one of the most prominent comparative political scientists of the past four decades and illuminating some of the debates he sparked, we hope to make a modest contribution to the intellectual history of comparative politics. Contributors include Brazil's former president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, and Stepan's frequent coauthor, Juan J. Linz.

Democratic Governance in Latin AmericaDemocratic Governance in Latin America
Stanford University Press, 2010

The book addresses why some policies and countries have been more successful in democratic governance than others, focusing on Latin America in the post-1990 period. We hope to contribute toward understanding why some policies and countries have been relatively successful in the midst of many failures.

CrisisPast Books include Rethinking Party Systems in the Third Wave of Democratization: The Case of Brazil (Stanford University Press, 1999) and The Third Wave of Democratization in Latin America: Advances and Setbacks (coedited with Frances Hagopian, Cambridge University Press, 2005).


Mainwaring Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Selected Publications and Datasets

"Regime Legacies and Levels of Democracy: Evidence from Latin America." Comparative Politics, July 2013. (With Aníbal Pérez-Liñán)

Democratic Breakdown and Survival in Latin America

From Representative Democracy to Participatory Competitive Authoritarianism: Hugo Chávez and Venezuelan Politics

Latin America: Eight Lessons for Governance
Scott Mainwaring and Timothy R. Scully

Political Regimes in Latin America, 1900-2007 (with Daniel Brinks and Anibal Perez Liñán)

Coding US Foreign Policy Toward Authoritarian and Democratic Regimes in Latin America, 1900-2007

US Foreign Policy Dataset (SPSS)

Argentine Lower Chamber Election Results, 2001-13
No Argentine government agency has published the lower chamber electoral results by party, aggregated to the national level, since at least 2001. My research assistant, María Victoria De Negri, compiled the data in this Excel file.

Kellogg Institute book series

For many years, I have served as the Editor of the Kellogg Institute book series. We welcome submissions of excellent manuscripts.

Full Curriculum Vitae




Ford Program

Varieties of Democracy

Latin American/North America Church Concerns

Notre Dame Award

Kellogg Faculty Fellows

Visiting Fellows Program

Faculty Research

Working Groups

Undergraduate Student Programs

Graduate Student Programs

International Development Studies Minor

Latin American Studies Minor

Institute Publications

Working Papers

K-12 Resources

Traveling Trunks

Contact Us



The Kellogg Institute promotes scholarship, learning, and linkages that address issues of critical importance to our world. At the center of our interdisciplinary community’s work are two key themes: democratization and human development. 

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