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Book Talk: Contemporary State Building in Latin America, by Gustavo Flores-Macias

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Uris Hall, G08 109 Tower Road

In his new book “Contemporary State Building: Elite Taxation and Public Safety in Latin America” (Cambridge University Press 2022) Professor Flores-Macías discusses experiences of elite taxation in Latin America, in the context of the public-safety crises facing several countries in the region.

Contrary to prominent explanations in the literature on the fiscal strengthening of the state – including the role of resource dependence and inequality – the book advances a theory of elite taxation that focuses on public-safety crises as windows of opportunity and highlights the importance of business–government linkages to overcome mistrust toward government from corruption and lack of accountability. Based on the evidence from across Latin America and rich case studies from experiences in Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Mexico, the book provides scholars and policymakers with a blueprint for contemporary state-building efforts in the developing world.

Government professor Kenneth Roberts will interview Gustavo about his book.

About the Author

Gustavo Flores-Macías is Associate Vice Provost for International Affairs and Professor of Government and Public Policy at Cornell University. His research and teaching interests include a variety of topics related to political and economic development, such as taxation, state capacity, and militarization of law enforcement. He is the author of After Neoliberalism? The Left and Economic Reforms in Latin America (Oxford 2012), and the editor of The Political Economy of Taxation in Latin America (Cambridge 2019). 

About the Interviewer -- Kenneth Roberts is the Richard J Schwartz Professor of Government at Cornell. He leads the Einaudi Center's democratic threats and resilience global research priority in academic years 2022–24. He teaches comparative and Latin American politics, with an emphasis on the political economy of development and the politics of inequality.

His research is devoted to the study of political parties, populism, labor and social movements, and democratic resilience. He is especially interested in the cases of Chile, Peru, Venezuela, and Argentina.

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