The IDCR has a work programme on a series of projecs and relationships in Chile that builds on a network of Chilean alumni who have studied at the University of Essex. In 2009, the University of Essex awarded an honorary degree to Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile from 2005 to 2009, from Concertación, a coalition of centre-left, Christian Democratic and progressive political parties.
Party Manifestos Project
With the support of FONDECYT, the IDCR and the Institute for International Studies (IEI) at the University of Chile in Santiago are working on a project that analyses the long term trends in political party policy pledges published in manifestos and speeches. The project covers two periods from 1932 to 1973, when democracy was overthrown by the Chilean military, and 1989 to 2005 when Chile underwent a period of democratic transition and consolidation.
The research team has adopted and modified a method of analysis developed by Professor Ian Budge from the Department of Government at the University of Essex. The method involves the coding the sentences and ‘quasi’ sentences of party manifestos in a systematic fashion and the analysing clusters of issue areas that tap into ideological positions of parties and how they relate to the overall poliitcal sphere across a wide range of democratic countries.
For the Chilean case, the team has coded manifestos from poliitical party leaders and electoral candidates and has presented papers at the meetings of the American Political Science Association in Washington DC in September 2010 and the Latin American Studies Association in Toronto in October 2010.
The research team in Chile is led by Professor Miguel Ángel López (Essex PhD), Prof. Ricardo Javier Gamboa Valenzuela, and Professor Jaime Baeza Freer (Essex PhD). Professor Todd Landman of the IDCR has assisted in data set construction, methods for time-series analysis, and co-authoring publications for the project.
Collaboration and Relationships
The IDCR has forged relationships with a number of organisations in Chile that are linked to democracy building, public opinion research and sustainable development. These organisations include:
Corporación Justicia y Democracia. This foundation was established by former President of Chile Patricio Aylwin, who was the first democratically elected president of Chile after the Pinochet Dictatorship. The foundation is keen to share its archives on the last four governments and to provide an example of best practice to the world in forging democracy after a period of prolonged authoritarian rule.
Sustentank is a private consulting firm that focuses on sustainable development in business, organisations, cities, and communities. Its staff is primarily comprised of lawyers and management professionals who have had experience in various ministries of the government in Chile.
Corporación de Estudios para Latinoamerica (CIEPLAN)
CIEPLAN is a large private organisation established in 1976 that works on economic development and growth, international cooperation and economic integration, social policy and democratic governance, and social cohesion. It is currently part of a large project on the quality of democracy in Chile in partnership with CEP and sponsored by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) in Stockholm and the United Nations Development Programme.
Linking Research Parks
As the IDCR is also part of the Knowledge Gateway at the University of Essex, it will be monitoring the development of an exciting research park at the University of Concepción in Southern Chile. The Science and Technology Park Bio Bio (PACYT) is based on research and development on biodiversity and bio-fuels, but combines public sector funding with private enterprise and academic research. For more on the PACYT, see the website.