Institutional isomorphism and Policy transfer in Public management reforms: Three stories about public procurement agencification in Latin America

Ana Cristina Calderon Ramirez, UNU-MERIT

Over the past few decades, Latin American countries have witnessed major efforts in modernising their public sectors through the adoption of new public management principles in areas such as public procurement. In that particular one, the reform has included the update of countries’ legislation, the implementation of e-procurement platforms, and the creation of regulatory and monitoring agencies. However, regarding the last aspect, there is limited knowledge about the conditions, context, rationale and process under which these organizations have been created and established.

In order to address this gap in knowledge, the dissertation uses theoretical literature on new public management, institutional isomorphism and policy transfer combined with empirical work to elaborate on a qualitative comparative review of three case studies: Paraguay, Panama and Colombia. It also expands on the discussion about the influences that have enabled a phenomenon that in the dissertation has been called agencification in public procurement.

The empirical results, combined with the theoretical implications, indicated that  although it is assumed that these agencies were the result of  the idea of achieving more efficiency in public procurement in reality the phenomenon is heavily influenced by the institutional isomorphic pressures that countries faced, the evolution of public procurement as a field as well as the environmental interpretation that diverse actors derived when deciding and establishing these entities. It also confirms that International Organisations act as enablers of isomorphism and play a critical role in spreading the idea of agencification, as they do with other elements when public management reforms are implemented through policy transfer processes. ?

Venue: Aula, Minderbroedersberg 4-6

Date: 17 June 2019

Time: 16:00 - 17:30