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Peter Siavelis

Director, Latin American and Latino Studies Program and Professor, Political Science

More information

  • Latin American politics
  • Political recruitment and candidate selection
  • U.S. Immigration
  • Government and Politics of Latin America
  • International Political Economy
  • Interamerican Relations
  • Democratic Institutional Design
  • BA., Bradley University
  • MA., Georgetown University
  • PhD., Georgetown University
Selected Publications
  • Getting Immigration Right: What Every American Needs to Know (Dulles, VA:  Potomac Books, 2009) co-edited with David Coates.
  • Pathways to Power: Political Recruitment and Candidate Selection in Latin America, edited volume, with Scott Morgenstern.  (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008), 440 pages.
  • “Endogenizing Legislative Candidate Selection Procedures in Nascent Democracies: Evidence from Spain and Chile,” Democratization, 18:3 (2011):  797-822, with Bonnie Field.
  • “Did Success Spoil the Concertación?” Americas Quarterly, 4:2 (Spring 2010): 28-32.
  • “Elite-Mass Congruence, Partidocracia and the Quality of Chilean Democracy,” Journal of Politics in Latin America, 1:3 (2009): 3-31.

Peter Siavelis is an expert in electoral, legislative and presidential politics in Latin America with a particular focus on Chile and Argentina. He also specializes in Latino immigration to the United States.

Among his many publications, his most recent co-edited book is Pathways to Power: Political Recruitment and Candidate Selection in Latin America. He is also the co-editor of Getting Immigration Right: What Every American Needs to Know with fellow Wake Forest Political Science Professor David Coates. His research currently focuses on election politics in Latin America, specifically candidate selection. Currently he is writing a book on Chile’s Concertación coalition of parties, one of the central political forces since the fall of military dictator Augusto Pinochet and the coalition that governed Chile for 20 years after the return to democracy.

Siavelis has been published widely, writing on topics including candidate selection, immigration, and Latin American politics in numerous journal articles and book chapters including articles in Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Party Politics, Latin American Research Review and Latin American Politics and Society. He has contributed to and been quoted in a number of media outlets including the New York Times, NPR, O Globo and Chilean newspapers such as La Tercera and El Mercurio.

Peter Siavelis on:

free trade in Latin America…

“The U.S. has just signed a number of free trade agreements with countries such as Panama and Colombia. In terms of public support, people have mixed opinions about these agreements with the far right and far left in the U.S. most in opposition (albeit for different reasons) and the political center generally in favor, given the purported jobs the agreements produce. However, because of political pushback in the U.S. any further economic integration in the region will likely come from the regional powers such as Brazil rather than the U.S.”

U.S.-Mexico relations…

“Mexico has seen an increased militarization of the drug war in recent years, resulting in more violence as the cartels react to the actions of the government, which has begun to fight them aggressively. In terms of immigration reform, high unemployment and increasingly negative sentiment towards immigrants (reflected in the new anti-immigration legislation in many U.S. states) are likely to stymie any significant reform until after the 2012 elections when the issue will become less polarizing.”

protests in Chile…

“The protests in Chile are ostensibly a fight over an ailing education system, but it’s really about more than that. The root causes of the protests are not just about educational funding. They are about political domination by elites who have ensured that the fruits of Chile’s economic success continue to be funneled to the top, within a system rigged to underwrite the continuing power of economic elites. Protestors argue that the private educational system, and particularly elite schools, are central to how the system is rigged to perpetuate this inequality. Numerous protests in Chile in recent years are, in this sense, like political protests erupting around the world and now in other Latin American capitals: they are about justice and fairness.”