Tod Van Gunten

Mexican Political Biographies II Dataset

Career histories are a source of insight into the dynamics of political elites. I systematically coded the career and educational histories of nearly 3,000 senior Mexican political elites (presidents, cabinet members, members of congress, justices and others), relying on published biographies. The data include more than 27,000 records of appointed, elected and party positions and 9,000 records of higher education experiences. I am currently coding additional information on family ties. These data permit inferences of network ties of experience and recruitment; for example, in the Mexican context we can infer ties from appointment patterns.

This image represents existing cabinet members, presidents and former presidents, and candidates for promotion. Elites that achieved promotion to the cabinet are shaded red and pink; those that did not are shaded blue; former cabinet members are brown; the current president is yellow; and former presidents are green. The size of notes who are candidates for promotion are scaled by betweenness centrality, a measure of brokerage position.

I am currently developing tools for web scraping and archive digitalization in order to expand and update the database.

Brokerage and elite coalitions in Mexico

In my paper "Brokers, clients and elite political networks in Mexico" I examine the network determinants of promotion to the cabinet over a period of more than sixty years. I find that -- controlling for patron-client relationships with the president -- political brokers have a significantly higher probability of cabinet appointment. This figure illustrates a detail from the 1958 Mexican elite network. The two black nodes occupying brokerage positions achieved appointment to the cabinet (the white-shaded broker at the center of the diagram was already a cabinet member).

Elite cohesion in Mexico and Argentina

In "Cohesion, Consensus and Conflict: Technocratic elites and financial crisis in Mexico and Argentina," I study the effect of elite cohesion on the formation of policy consensus. This figure represents the collapse of both inter-organizational (between government agencies) and inter-cohort (over time) cohesion in Argentina during the 2001 financial crisis. In contrast, elite cohesion remained robust during the 1994 Mexican crisis. The analysis is based on an application of the cohesive blocking algorithm.

Legislative cosponsorship networks in Argentina

Argentina is a fascinating case to study the emergence, evolution and dissolution of electoral coalitions because of the instability of the party system and rapid changes in party ideology. This image represents the co-sponsorship network in the Argentine Chamber of Deputies in 1999 (red: Partido Justicialista/Peronists; blue: Partido Radical; green: Frepaso coalition; gray: other. This diagram is from a mini-course on political network analysis at I taught at CIDE in Mexico City in November 2015.