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10141 - Representation in Mercosur: ¿new patterns of inclusion and exclusion?

The theoretical link of regional integration and democracy -its representation and participation dimensions- has been widely discussed in Europe, much less in the Americas. At the same time, both success of integration processes and development of democracy have shown many disparities among regions and countries. Therefore, European literature on that link of concepts has had a very limited impact on the American academic analysis.

The proposed paper will address this link by analyzing specific characteristics of representation in two Mercosur countries (Argentina and Brasil) and the effect these characteristics may have in regional integration processes as instruments for social and economic development. It will assume that regional integration implies a new political arena, where socio-economic development depends on processes of inclusion/exclusion of different economic, social and political interests.

A ttention will be concentrated in business interest groups’ and labour unions’ influence in decisions regarding regional integration. Empirical analysis will try to demonstrate that their weakness in articulating interests favors decisions which express particular relationships instead of aggregated preferences, this being an obstacle for: - creating broad and long-standing visions of development and progress, visions which are necessary to support long processes such as regional integration; - consolidating long-standing support for inclusive policies in the region.

By doing this, the project will offer new analytical elements to:

- understand which political elements help explaining limits of regional integration as well as unequal policies in Latin America; - understand representation as a further regional challenge which goes along with distributional and inclusion/exclusion challenges.

Keywords: socio-economic development, democracy, regional integration, representation

Author: Gil, Luciana (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina / Argentinien)

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