Miguel Centellas

Miguel Centellas
University of Mississippi | UM · Department of Sociology and Anthropology

PhD, Political Science

About

72
Publications
59,000
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208
Citations
Introduction
I teach sociology, comparative politics, and international studies. I specialize in Bolivia, but am interested in broader issues of democratization, particularly the intersection of electoral systems, party systems, and subnational politics. I'm also interested in pedagogical approaches to teaching social science in an interdisciplinary, liberal arts environment.
Additional affiliations
August 2015 - present
University of Mississippi
Position
  • Croft Instructional Assistant Professor of Sociology & International Studies
August 2013 - August 2015
Jackson State University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
August 2009 - July 2013
University of Mississippi
Position
  • Research Assistant
Education
August 1999 - April 2007
Western Michigan University
Field of study
  • Political Science

Publications

Publications (72)
Article
Full-text available
Utilizing hierarchical cluster analysis, a new measure of democracy, the DCC index, is proposed and constructed from five popular indices of democracy (Freedom House, Polity IV, Vanahanen’s index of democratization, Cheibub et al.’s index of democracy and dictatorship, and the Cingranelli-Richards index of electoral self-determination). The DCC was...
Article
This paper discusses the recent autonomy movement in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, within a theoretical framework typically reserved for “ethnic” political or social movements. The paper begins with a brief chronology of the Santa Cruz autonomía movement as it developed into a powerful political oppositional movement during the rise of Evo Morales. In doing...
Article
Full-text available
The social forces that brought Evo Morales to power reshaped the dynamics of politics in Bolivia. Although partly driven by ethnic or socioeconomic differences, regional movements have support beyond a narrow elite base and reflect changes in Bolivia’s political landscape stemming from 1990s political reforms, older historical legacies, and recent...
Article
Full-text available
This article discusses the use of pop culture in the classroom as a means to teach foundational political science authors and concepts. I focus on my experience using American Idol as a point of reference to discuss Marx and Engel's The Communist Manifesto and Tocqueville's Democracy in America in undergraduate comparative politics courses. Student...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the effectiveness of a collaborative group learning project for teaching a core competency in comparative politics: constitutional structures. We use a quasi-experimental design and propensity score matching to assess the value of a constitutional writing group project and presentation. The results provide strong evidence that...
Article
El artículo describe la publicación Dobles espacios superpuestos, el número 04 de la colección “Temas de Vivienda” impulsada por el grupo de investigación “Habitar Colectivo” de la Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena y dedicada a glosar los diferentes parámetros que definen la configuración de la vivienda. La monografía propone revisitar un conjun...
Article
There is surprisingly limited political science scholarship on indigenous political participation and representation in Latin America, per se. While research on Latin America’s indigenous peoples has experienced a boom in recent years—and has long been a staple among anthropologists and sociologists—most of that work takes a decidedly cultural, rat...
Article
Full-text available
The year 2017 was marked by growing uncertainty about the future as Evo Morales continued to prepare for yet another presidential campaign despite growing resistance and a 2016 referendum in which voters rejected a constitutional amendment that would allow Morales to seek a fourth term. The year was also dominated by plans for the December judicial...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines findings of a panel study of more than 1,000 students enrolled in introductory political science courses at a flagship public university. The survey assessed whether completing an introductory course had a positive effect on political efficacy, focusing on gender and race. We found that, at the aggregate level, completing an int...
Data
This is the methodological online appendix for the article (forthcoming) in PS: Political Science & Politics. Abstract: This paper examines findings of a panel study of more than 1,000 students enrolled in introductory political science courses at a flagship public university. The survey assessed whether completing an introductory course had a posi...
Data
This is a small dataset of various global indicators developed for use in a course teaching research methods at the Croft Institute for International Studies at the University of Mississippi. The data is ready to be directly imported into SPSS, Stata, or other statistical packages. A brief codebook includes descriptions of each variable, the indica...
Article
Full-text available
Reflections on Donald Trump's election, using the literature on populism (primarily in Latin America) as a framework. This was an invited essay for La Migraña, the scholarly journal published by Bolivia's vice presidency.
Article
Full-text available
Since his 2005 election, observers have suggested that the success of Evo Morales and his MAS party was due to their appeal to Bolivia's historically underrepresented indigenous population. Recent electoral setbacks for MAS and changes in ethnic self-identification between the 2001 and 2012 censuses invite reconsideration. Although MAS remains domi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The effects of electoral runoff systems are difficult to evaluate. Reforms that introduce runoffs often coincide with radical changes to cleavage structures and socioeconomic contexts. The small number of observations makes evaluating effects of electoral rule changes difficult to test empirically. This paper attempts to measure the effects of runo...
Research
Full-text available
This is a short handbook I wrote specifically for a research methods course I teach during a summer study-abroad program in Bolivia. It's a synthesis of several other methods books I've used over the years, as well as some additional material I wish methods textbooks included. It's written for students with access to Excel, but no specialized stati...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Since the 2005 election of Evo Morales, Bolivia's first self-identified indigenous president, observers have suggested that the success of Morales and his MAS party was due to their appeal to Bolivia's historically underrepresented indigenous population. However, recent electoral setbacks for MAS invite us to reconsider. Although MAS remained the d...
Research
Full-text available
Overview of Bolivian electoral reforms in Bolivia (1985-2014). Part of a cross-national project commissioned by the Organization of American States. Uploaded to the Reformas Políticas site April 2015. https://reformaspoliticas.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/miguelcentellas-sistemaelectoral.pdf
Research
Full-text available
This paper re-examines the conventional view of Chile’s ‘exceptional’ experience with democracy in the early twentieth century in comparison to its Southern Cone neighbors. Using quantitative measures typically used to study contemporary electoral politics—and bolstered by qualitative historical evidence—we find that Uruguay (not Chile) holds a bet...
Data
This dataset contains ethnic fractionalization (EF) scores for Bolivia's municipalities. The original data comes from the 2001 Bolivia census, as published in "Bolivia: Atlas estadístico de municipios 2005" (INE/UNDP). EF values were calculated using the method described by Alesina et al (2003). The 2001 census asked individuals to identify thems...
Data
Replication data for study of legislative candidate selection in Bolivia's 1993 and 1997 elections.
Article
Full-text available
In October 2003, a wave of popular protests forced the resignation of Bolivian president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada. Suddenly, Bolivia became illustrative of the limits of neoliberalism and the rise of new social movements. The rise of Evo Morales and his Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) party and his 2005 election as the country’s first self-describe...
Article
Mixed-member electoral systems became a popular choice for “electoral engineers” in the 1990s. Countries as diverse as Venezuela, Hungary, Lesotho, and Italy adopted the system. The assumption was that introducing single-member districts (SMDs) in countries that used list proportional representation electoral systems would introduce “constituency”...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Measuring level and/or quality of democracy has become common in democracy studies. However, most measures continue to rely on expert assessments and coding, rather than objective criteria that can be easily applied across a wide range of cases. Moreover, existing measures are time and labor intensive, which limits them to national-level applicatio...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Mixed-member electoral systems became a popular choice for “electoral engineers” in the 1990s. Countries as diverse as Venezuela, Hungary, Lesotho, and Italy adopted the system. The assumption was that introducing single- member districts (SMDs) in countries that used list proportional representation electoral systems would introduce “constituency”...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Although there has been an increase in attention to Latin American legislatures, there is still relatively little known about legislative candidate selection—particularly in countries that have undergone significant institutional reforms. This paper presents evidence from the Bolivian case based on a new database of Bolivian legislative candidates...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Since 2005 election of Evo Morales, Bolivia has been undergoing an unprecedented process of reforms aimed at increasing citizens’ direct access to political power. Among the reforms is the 2011 direct election of high court justices—a first among contemporary democracies. This paper analyzes the results of that unique election. Unlike partisan elec...
Data
Utilizing hierarchical cluster analysis, a new measure of democracy, the DCC index, is proposed and constructed from five popular indices of democracy. The results indicate democracy is a latent class variable. Sensitivity and specificity analyses were conducted for the five existing democracy indices as well as the newly proposed Unified Democracy...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper analyzes the contentious April 2010 public university elections for Rector and Vice Rector at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA) in Bolivia. University elections are especially politically significant in countries like Bolivia, in which public universities have constitutionally protected autonomy and have often served as bastions...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In 2009, Bolivia adopted a new constitution that grants significant political autonomy to the country’s nine departments. The creation of nine autonomous departmental governments with elected executives (governors) and legislatures (departmental assemblies) represents a radical departure from the traditional unitary state model. This raises a numbe...
Conference Paper
We conducted a survey of the student population enrolled in undergraduate introductory-level courses in political science at a large public university. We were interested to test whether completing undergraduate introductory-level courses in political science had any effects on political efficacy, using some standard indicators (drawn from the ANES...
Article
Full-text available
Recent discussions of teaching research methods have focused on understanding the relationship between methods courses and the broader discipline, including the need to integrate qualitative methods and other approaches beyond the traditional statistical approaches still common in the majority of undergraduate research methods courses. This article...
Conference Paper
This paper revisits the challenge of empirically measuring the quality of democracy in Latin America in the wake of the region’s ‘left turn’ since the 1990s and the rise of classic populist leaders in several countries. Building on an earlier effort by David Altman and Aníbal Pérez-Liñán to measure the quality of democracy, this paper develops a re...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper discusses the recent autonomy movement in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, within a theoretical framework typically reserved for “ethnic” political or social movements. The paper begins with a brief chronology of the Santa Cruz autonomía movement as it developed into a powerful political oppositional movement during the rise of Evo Morales. In doing...
Article
Full-text available
This research note considers the effects of electoral system reform in Bolivia. In 1995, Bolivia moved from a list-proportional to a mixed-member proportional electoral system. The intervening years saw growing regional polarization of politics and a collapse of the existing party system. Using statistical analysis of disaggregated electoral data (...
Article
Full-text available
This research note considers the effects of electoral system reform in Bolivia. In 1995, Bolivia moved from a list-proportional to a mixed-member proportional electoral system. The intervening years saw growing regional polarization of politics and a collapse of the existing party system. Using statistical analysis of disaggregated electoral data (...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While most conventional accounts assume an economic motivation behind the new regional autonomy movements, such claims have not been systematically tested. In this paper, we test the link between electoral support for Evo Morales and regional autonomy to socioeconomic and demographic indicators at the municipal level. Our cases include the three ga...
Conference Paper
Recently, discussions about teaching research methods among APSA Teaching & Learning Conference participants have focused on understanding the relationship between methods courses and the broader discipline, including the need to integrate qualitative methods and other approaches beyond the traditional statistical approaches still common in the maj...
Article
Among the many shifts in Bolivian politics since October 2003 is a subtle, yet significant change in the country's presidential system. Bolivia has recently transitioned from a "parliamentarized" to a "pure" presidentialism. In the previous system (1985-2002), Bolivian presidents were chosen by the legislature and led multiparty coalition governmen...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Bolivia’s political system has recently undergone a dramatic transformation after nearly two decades dominated by three “systemic” parties (MNR, ADN, MIR). Despite resisting challenges from “outsiders” (whether populists, leftists, or indigenous movements) for nearly two decades, the party system was quickly swept away after the “gas war” of Octobe...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The democratization of Bolivia presented an interesting paradox in the 1990s. As the state continued to promote a liberal-pluralist orientation in public civic life, various social movements presented alternate modes of understanding “citizenship” in the new state. The result has been a series of political and social conflicts that can be understoo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Bolivian state’s crisis of legitimacy was not resolved with the December 2005 election of Evo Morales. The July 2006 constituent assembly elections promised to reestablish a new basis of state legitimacy. This paper analyzes the constituent assembly election itself and provides a brief critical evaluation of that body’s progress since its Augus...
Thesis
Full-text available
Bolivia’s recent political crisis starkly contrasts to the preceding two decades of relative democratic stability. Though a unique system of “parliamentarized” presidentialism together with lingering consensus on the national project inherited from the 1952 Revolution supported democratic stability, using qualitative and quantitative methods, this...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper considers the effects of the change in Bolivia’s electoral system from list proportional (list-PR) to mixed-member proportional (MMP). One of the most noticeable effects of the 1994 change was increased regionalization and party system fragmentation. Prior to the change, Bolivi-an politics revolved around a stable, moderate multiparty sy...
Thesis
Full-text available
This study places Bolivia in comparative perspective and seeks to explain the country's unexpected two decades of democratic stability. Four potential explanations are pursued: 1) Bolivia's political institutional structure, 2) historical legacies, 3) the role of individual statesmen, and 4) the role of a patrimonial political elite. If Bolivia's d...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper compares the evolution of party systems in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. Since democratization, these three party systems have taken divergent turns. The relationship between electoral and party systems is important and complex, especially in newly democratic systems. If representative democracy requires political parties, then the ability...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Bolivian executive is selected by the legislature, moving the nominally presidential system closer to a parliamentary model. Reinforced by the electoral and party systems, the model differs significantly from the “hybrid presidential” model. A better understanding of this model sheds light not only on the role of institutional design in new dem...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper analyzes the Bolivian model of executive-legislative relations within the context of formal and informal institutions. Since its transition to democracy, the Bolivian executive has been selected by the legislature, moving the officially presidential system closer to a parliamentary model. Reinforced by the electoral and party systems, th...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper measures the degree of polyarchy in five South American states (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela) since 1978 using a model developed by Altman and Pérez-Liñán (1999) and Centellas (1999). The model measures polyarchy in the electoral process along two axes: participation and competition. Our model follows Dahl’s basic premise...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Bolivia’s decentralization under the 1994 Ley de Participación Popular (LPP) cannot be characterized as federalism or administrative decentralization. The Bolivian model demonstrates the importance of ideological discourse and the role of decentralization in democratization. The ideological and historical roots of Bolivia’s state decentralization e...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper measures the process of democratization in Bolivia from 1985 to 1998 using polyarchy as an operational definition of democracy. This quality of democracy is measured using a model developed by Altman and Pérez-Liñán (1998) which considers effective opposition and effective competition in a political system. Bolivia has elected four gover...

Questions

Questions (17)
Question
I have a subnational-level dataset that includes census and election data. The census years don't match up with election years, so I want to impute data for some important variables (e.g. education, poverty, etc.). I have three decades of census data, so three points. I know I could estimate a parabolic curve with those three points (in some cases it's almost a linear relationship) and from that impute vector (x,y coordinate) data for the missing non-census years. I can do the match. But I want to be able to do it automatically (preferably either in Excel or Stata) in such a way that I can easily update the data if any corrections are necessary without having to redo all the math. (I also don't want to brute force calculate hundreds of different curve estimates. However, I'm at a loss as to how to do this. Any ideas?
Question
I'm having a hard time finding articles on "qualified plurality runoff" elections. That is, elections in which there is a second-round runoff, unless there is a specific distance between the first and second place winners and/or the first place finisher exceeds a certain threshold (say, 40%). Can anyone point me to some? I've checked Google Scholar and various other places, but can only find a handful, and mostly older. Recently, many countries in Latin America adopted qualified runoffs, and I'm sure there must be some papers about them. Thanks.
Question
I'm teaching a seminar on democracy in Latin America that will rely heavily on empirical measurement using publicly available datasets. One of the datasets I want my students to use is the AmericasBarometer data. Can anyone recommend a good, but short (article/chapter length) overview of the data and how it can/should be used?
Question
I'm putting together a reading list for a course, and I'm having trouble finding a good, concise analytical overview (neither a puff piece, nor a hatchet job) on the Bolivarian constitutional model. I want to pair it with the classic Gargarella article on the three types of historical Latin American constitutions (conservative, liberal, and majoritarian/radical). I think the Bolivarian model fits in that third category (majoritarian/radical), but I'd like an article that discusses a constitution more recent than the 1800s. Thanks!
Question
The reason for asking is that I have to teach a fi of course in excel (the students don't have access the Stata). I'm trying t to keep it simple and a binomial test in excel is more complicated. 
Question
I'm running some regressing with a set of variables that are highly autocorrelated. Not surprising since one is an interaction term of the other. These are: effective number of parties (ENP), effective number of opposition parties (ENOP), and their interaction. However, when I run basic OLS and test for multicollinearity, these three (and only these three) show up as having high VIF scores. I want to drop the original two (ENP and ENOP) and only keep the interaction term (ENP * ENOP). I justify this theoretically because it contains much of the same information and actually helps "spread out" (i.e. normalize) the values a bit more. The new interaction term also essentially builds a scale from zero (only the party in power campaigned in that election) to a high number (high ENP *and* ENOP) which suggests higher voter fragmentation. Thoughts?
Question
I teach a methods seminar, and one of my students wants to do a comparative study of post-Soviet Russia and Saudi Arabia, on the basis that Saudi Arabia is a "closed economy" (used to compare with post-Soviet privatization of Russia's oil industry). I know the Saudi oil sector is government controlled, but I don't think I'd call the country a "command economy" (in the sense of communist economics). Before I challenge my student, I want to be sure. Any experts on Saudi Arabia's economy want to weigh in?

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Projects (5)
Project
Research papers and published articles that focus on electoral politics in Bolivia.