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Why Reform Fails: The ‘Politics of Policies’ in Costa Rican Telecommunications Liberalization

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  • Bert Hoffmann

    () (GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies)

Abstract

As the 'Washington Consensus' reforms are losing momentum in Latin America, the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) is calling for shifting the focus from the content of policy choices to the political process of their implementation. As this paper studies the paradigmatic case of telecommunications reform in Costa Rica it underscores the importance of these 'politics of policies'. The analysis finds, however, that the failure of repeated liberalization initiatives was not only due to policy-makers' errors in steering the project through 'the messy world of politics' (IDB); instead, as liberalization remained unpopular, policy content indeed mattered, and only the interaction of both explains the outcome. Particular attention is drawn to the political feed-back effects, as the failed reform, precisely because it had been backed by bi-partisan support, became a catalyst for the disintegration of the country's long-standing two-party system.

Suggested Citation

  • Bert Hoffmann, 2007. "Why Reform Fails: The ‘Politics of Policies’ in Costa Rican Telecommunications Liberalization," GIGA Working Paper Series 47, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:47
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    File URL: http://repec.giga-hamburg.de/pdf/giga_07_wp47_hoffmann.pdf
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    1. repec:mes:challe:v:33:y:1990:i:4:p:57-59 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Sebastian Huhn, 2009. "The Culture of Fear and Control in Costa Rica (II): The Talk of Crime and Social Changes," GIGA Working Paper Series 108, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Liberalization; privatization; telecommunications; public enterprises; Costa Rica; development model; Inter-American Development Bank;

    JEL classification:

    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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