Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science


Political Science

Advisor 1

Dennis Pirages, Committee Chair

First Committee Member

Jonathan Strand

Second Committee Member

John Tuman

Graduate Faculty Representative

William Smith

Number of Pages



This study examines the ability of democratic and non-democratic states alike to protect the environment. Democracy has long been an important concept in the study of politics and environmental protection is an increasingly important issue in world politics. Advocates of democracy claim democratic states are better able to protect the environment than non-democracies. In contrast there are those that argue democracy's emphasis on individual rights leads to excessive resource consumption. This thesis employs a mixed methods approach to determine if democratic countries protect the environment more than their non-democratic counterparts. In short democracies do protect the environment better than non-democracies but certain conditions must be met. It is argued that democracy is a necessary but not sufficient condition to ensure greater environmental protection. This study restricts analysis to Latin America which allows for a more focused and detailed analysis of cases with various levels of democracy. This allows for greater inspection as to the effect the institutions have on environmental protection.


Brazil; Chile; Costa Rica; Democracy; Environmental protection; Guatemala; Latin America; Military regimes; Political institutions; Politics; Semi-democratic states


Comparative Politics | Environmental Health and Protection | Political Science

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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