Measures of human development, no matter their specific methodology, have always placed Costa Rica substantially higher than its neighbor, Nicaragua, but no apparent governmental, resource, or historical discrepancy can account for this gap. This thesis uses two case studies to examine this phenomenon from three different theoretical perspectives, and conclude which has the greatest explanatory power to account for the disparity between these two particular governments. Political scientists have noted that parliamentary systems lend themselves to better governance when compared with their presidential countersystems. Shugart and Carey (1992) cite peculiarities within some presidential models which may account for lower rates of human development. Another approach, offered by Tsebelis (2002) produces a more generalized explanation of this phenomenon, while Lawrence Harrison (1985) offers an entirely different, culture-based explanation. This thesis seeks to examine the validity of these claims, using Costa Rica and Nicaragua as case studies. Limiting the thesis to these two presidential governments will highlight the variation that exists within the presidential model, and possibly shed light on the most significant variables.
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Wilson, Bruce M.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Hristakopoulos, Michael A., "Human development and institutional design the comparative performance of presidential regimes" (2011). HIM 1990-2015. 1138.