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Political institutions, intertemporal cooperation, and the quality of policies
Carlos Scartascini et al.
Source of the information:
Inter-American Development Bank
In all states, public policies play a fundamental role in influencing economic and social outcomes. This paper builds cross-country indicators of policy capabilities drawing from available broad cross-national sources from the Inter-American Development Bank, in which policy characteristics were constructed for 18 Latin American countries. It develops measures of the qualities of policies with the premise that the quality of public policies depends on each polity's ability to strike inter-temporal transactions necessary to develop and sustain effective policies.
The paper states that the effects of policies on the final economic and social outcomes depend on the actions of economic and social agents. It proposes government capabilities based on the following framework of inter-temporal co-operation:
Politics and policy-making take place over time
The relative political power of various actors changes over time
Elements of conflict and commonality of interests are present in policy issues
Policy socioeconomic realities change over time
Policy decision frequencies take the form of moments of major institutional definition and regular policy-making
Changing realities make it impossible for political or policy agreements to cover all future circumstances.
The paper identifies stability, adaptability, coherence and coordination, implementation and enforcement, efficiency and public-regardedness as indicators of a country's policy characteristics. It sums up that political cooperation for effective public policies is more likely if:
the number of political actors is small
The actors have long horizons and strong inter-temporal linkages
Good delegation technologies are available
Good enforcement technologies are available, and
The key political exchanges take place in arenas where the above are satisfied.
The study also finds that polities that are more able to sustain policies over time will not necessarily be less able to adjust policies when necessary; polities are better able to cooperate over time to achieve desirable policy qualities and the policy environment does matter depending on the issue at hand.