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Building Public Capabilities for Productive Development Policies: Costa Rican Case Studies


  • Jorge Cornick
  • Alberto Trejos


This paper explores the development of public sector capabilities for Productive Development Policies in Costa Rica through four case studies of successful experiences, with less successful cases presented as counterfactuals. To some extent the paper tests the Technical, Organizational and Political Capabilities (TOP) conceptual framework of Cornick (2013), suggesting adjustments and extensions of that framework. Strong commonalities are found among the cases, notably high technical and political capabilities. All cases likewise involve well-managed organizations, but identifying organizational capabilities proved difficult. While the TOP Capabilities framework may be useful for understanding institutional performance, it has three major weaknesses: i) organizational capabilities are not clearly defined; ii) it does not provide tools for identifying and measuring capabilities ties independently of institutional performance; and iii) it needs to be integrated into a more general framework that takes into account the interactions among the political economy, the Policy Making Process, the institutional setup and TOP capabilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Jorge Cornick & Alberto Trejos, 2016. "Building Public Capabilities for Productive Development Policies: Costa Rican Case Studies," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 8017, Inter-American Development Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:8017

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harrison, Ann & Rodríguez-Clare, Andrés, 2010. "Trade, Foreign Investment, and Industrial Policy for Developing Countries," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    2. Pablo T. Spiller & Ernesto H. Stein & Mariano Tommasi & Carlos Scartascini & Lee J. Alston & Marcus André Melo & Bernardo Mueller & Carlos Pereira & Cristóbal Aninat & John Londregan & Patricio Navia , 2008. "Policymaking in Latin America: How Politics Shapes Policies," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 40178 edited by Ernesto H. Stein & Mariano Tommasi & Pablo T. Spiller & Carlos Scartascini, February.
    3. Devlin, Robert & Moguillansky, Graciela, 2010. "Alianzas público-privadas para una nueva visión estratégica del desarrollo," Libros de la CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 108 edited by Cepal, November.
    4. Lant Pritchett & Salimah Samji & Jeffrey Hammer, 2012. "It’s All About MeE: Using Structured Experiential Learning (‘e’) to Crawl the Design Space," CID Working Papers 249, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    5. repec:idb:brikps:40178 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:idb:idbbks:329 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:pri:rpdevs:hammer_its_all_about_me is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Gabriel Sánchez & Inés Butler & Ricardo Rozemberg, 2011. "Productive Development Policies in Argentina," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 3095, Inter-American Development Bank.
    9. Marcela Eslava & Marcela Meléndez Arjona & Guillermo Perry, 2014. "Public-Private Collaboration on Productive Development Policies in Colombia," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6411, Inter-American Development Bank.
    10. Jorge Cornick & Jorge Jimenez & Marcela Román, 2014. "Public-Private Collaboration on Productive Development Policies in Costa Rica," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6393, Inter-American Development Bank.
    11. Jorge Cornick & Jorge Jimenez & Marcela Román, 2014. "Public-Private Collaboration on Productive Development Policies in Costa Rica," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 84133, Inter-American Development Bank.
    12. Marcela Eslava & Marcela Meléndez & Guillermo Perry, 2013. "Public-Private Collaboration for Productive Development Policies in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 011889, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    13. Ines Butler & Ricardo Rozemberg & Gabriel Sanchez, 2011. "Productive Development Policies in Argentina," Research Department Publications 4700, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
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    More about this item


    Productive Development Policies; Productivity and Competitiveness; Political Economy; Innovation; Economic Policy; Leadership; Industrial Policy; Economic Growth; Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises; Foreign Direct Investment; Public Policy; International cooperation; political economy; Productive Development Policies; public capabilities;

    JEL classification:

    • L52 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Industrial Policy; Sectoral Planning Methods
    • F63 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Economic Development
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact


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