The Making of Policy: Institutionalized or Not?


Carlos Scartascini, Lead Research Economist, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington D.C.

This paper attempts to build bridges in the formal study of policymaking across polities of different degrees of institutional development. It explores the reasons why policymaking is fairly institutionalized in some polities but not in others. It suggests extending standard models of institutionalized policymaking to allow for a wider set of actions, including the threat of violence or of damage to the economy. It engages the discussion of institutions as rules and institutions as equilibria, delivering multiple equilibria with different degrees of institutionalization. The likelihood of institutionalized policymaking increases as the cost of alternative political actions increases, as the damage these alternatives cause decreases, and as the economy becomes wealthier. In cases in which the distribution of de jure political power is more asymmetric, it is more likely to observe use of alternative political technologies as well as low degrees of institutionalization.

About the speaker
Carlos Scartascini holds a Ph.D. and a M.A. in Economics from George Mason University, and a Bachelor in Economics from Universidad Nacional del Sur in Argentina. At George Mason, he also held research and teaching positions and he was awarded the William Snavely Award for Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Studies in Economics. He currently holds a position as Lead Economist at the Research Department of the Inter-American Development Bank. His areas of expertise include Public Finance and Political Economy. He has written several papers on the impact of political institutions on fiscal outcomes and institutions, and on policymaking in Latin America. He is the co-editor of five books: Policymaking in Latin America: How Politics Shapes Policies (Harvard University Press, 2008), Who Decides the Budget? The Political Economy of the Budget Process in Latin America (Harvard University Press, 2009; also in Spanish from Mayol, 2010), Consecuencias imprevistas de la Constitución de 1991: La influencia de la política en las políticas económicas (Alfaomega, 2010), How Democracy Works. Political Institutions, Actors, and Arenas in Latin American Policymaking (Harvard University Press, 2010), and El juego político en América Latina. Cómo se deciden las políticas públicas? (Mayol, 2010).

Venue: Kapoenstraat 2, Maastricht, room 0.009

Date: 21 October 2010

Time: 12:30 - 13:30


UNU-MERIT