Boundary institutions and HIV/AIDS policy in Brazil and South Africa

Varun Gauri, Evan S. Lieberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Why have some national governments acted more aggressively to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic than others? More specifically, what explains widely varied responses across Brazil and South Africa - two countries where one might have expected more similarity than difference? We argue that boundary institutions - those sets of rules and practices that give social and political meaning to group identities - help explain this puzzle. Institutions interact with other pressures to structure the dissemination of information, the construction of risk, and priorities within society. Where institutions divide groups deeply, elites and ordinary citizens are less likely to feel vulnerable, and more likely to blame other groups, making aggresive government action far less likely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-73
Number of pages27
JournalStudies in Comparative International Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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