Current Research Projects:

LATINNO – Innovations for Democracy in Latin America

The Project

LATINNO will be the first comprehensive and systematic source of data on new forms of citizen participation evolved in Latin America – the so-called democratic innovations. LATINNO assumes that citizen participation has become an important means to improve the quality of democracy in Latin America. Thousands of new institutional designs have been created in the last years aiming not only to include more citizens in the political process, but also to – through citizen participation – make governments more responsive and institutions more accountable, in addition to strengthen the rule of law, and promote social equality.

LATINNO collects data on democratic innovations evolved in 20 countries of Latin America between 1990 and 2015. The data is coded for 42 variables related to the context, institutional design, and impact of each innovation. Along with the quantitative data, qualitative information is gathered and catalogued. All this material will be analyzed in policy briefs and academic papers. The project will be wrapped up with an international conference, where its main product will come true: an online interactive platform, where all data will be made public.

The Context

Latin America has been claimed to be a laboratory of political and social innovations, as governments, CSOs, and international organizations involve citizens in the democratic process. However, knowledge on democratic innovations is yet mostly limited to case studies, which frequently focus on a limited number of experiments at the local level (e.g. the participatory budgeting). There is yet no systematic and comparative knowledge of such initiatives, since information is scattered and cannot be gathered easily. LATINNO will fill this gap. It will allow scholars, policymakers, CSOs, international organizations and citizens alike to use the data for different purposes.

LATINNO seeks to highlight that democracy in Latin America encompasses more than elections, and that new forms of participation go beyond protests. It focuses on four means: deliberation, e-democracy, direct democracy, and non-electoral representation. Those means shape a multitude of innovations, which aim at fulfilling and enhancing different ends: responsiveness, accountability, political inclusion, social equality, and the rule of law. The data provided by LATINNO will allow one to compare across hundreds of democratic innovations in 20 countries, and assess what makes them effective, and whether they contribute to enhance the quality of democracy in Latin America.

The Database

More than providing information on individual cases, LATINNO seeks to underscore the diversity of new democratic institutional designs and experimentations with citizen participation in Latin America. In addition to identifying and mapping new means of participation, the LATINNO Database will make data comparable across cases and countries. Each case is coded according to a strict methodology, and coders are continuously trained and checked to ensure reliability.

The Database adopts a broad definition of democratic innovation and comprises various forms of political experimentation, provided that they involve citizen participation, and may potentially impact on the public policy cycle. Cases are coded for a set of variables concerning their context, institutional design, and impact.

LATINNO’s data will be displayed on an online platform, where cases can be freely searched and browsed by the many variables. Data visualization tools will highlight the main results.

The Process

Data collection has started during a pilot project in late 2014, and should be be completed in July 2016. The initial data analysis should take place between August and December 2016, when policy briefs and country reports will communicate the main findings. An international conference will take place at the WZB in January 2017 to discuss the project’s main results and officially launch the online database.

An initial version of the project’s website will be online in April 2016 featuring general information and explaining the project’s methodology. It will be slowly fed with data and analyses in the subsequent months.


Previous Research Projects:


In 2009-2010 I’ve built ISEGORIA, a database that contains all deliberations from the National Public Policy Conferences in Brazil (NPPC) and all legislative acts from the Brazilian federal Legislature that match them. ISEGORIA covers the period 1988-2010, comprising over a hundred of NPPCs. ISEGORIA was funded by the Ministry of Justice of Brazil (2009) and the General Secretary of the Presidency of Brazil (2010). The data is available online (except data for 2009 and 2010) here.

If you’d like to use and cite ISEGORIA data: Pogrebinschi, Thamy (2010). Banco de Dados ISEGORIA. Available from:



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