Oversight or Representation? Public Opinion and Impeachment Resolutions in Argentina and Brazil

Abstract: Why do legislators introduce impeachment resolutions against the president, even though most of these resolutions never succeed? We explore two possible answers to this puzzle, which are linked to the legislative functions of oversight and representation. First, legislators initiate impeachment procedures to expose (real or alleged) presidential misdeeds, an action that may weaken the president’s approval rates, even if an impeachment process remains unlikely. Second, legislators introduce impeachment resolutions to express their constituents’ outrage in the context of corruption scandals or poor economic performance—that is, in response to an exogenous decline in presidential approval. To test these hypotheses, we analyze 274 impeachment resolutions introduced against the presidents of Argentina and Brazil since the transition to democracy. We estimate models predicting presidential approval and impeachment resolutions using time-series and simultaneous equations estimators. Our results strongly support the representation hypothesis.


License CC BY
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/lsq.12281
Type Journal Articles
C-ID POLS 130 - Comparative
Pedagogical Note Not Yet