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Political Institutions, State Capabilities and Public Policy - International Evidence

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  • Carlos Scartascini
  • Ernesto Stein
  • Mariano Tommasi

Abstract

This paper introduces preliminary evidence from a cross-country database of policy characteristics and potential uses of that database. While most databases have emphasized either the content of policies (e.g., size of government deficits) or countries’ formal institutions (e.g., political regime, electoral system), the variables in this database reflect the policymaking capabilities of different polities. The paper attempts to explain these policy characteristics as depending on the workings of political institutions, using a logic emphasizing intertemporal political compromise. The paper also contrasts this logic with alternatives such as the veto players approach. The paper concludes by suggesting the use of these policy characteristics or state capabilities as explanatory variables for the effectiveness of public spending in various social areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Scartascini & Ernesto Stein & Mariano Tommasi, 2008. "Political Institutions, State Capabilities and Public Policy - International Evidence," Research Department Publications 4608, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4608
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Carlos Scartascini & Ernesto H. Stein & Mariano Tommasi, 2008. "Veto Players, Intertemporal Interactions and Policy Adaptability: How Do Political Institutions Work?," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 3352, Inter-American Development Bank.
    2. Calvo, Guillermo A. & Drazen, Allan, 1998. "Uncertain Duration Of Reform," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(04), pages 443-455, December.
    3. Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Policy uncertainty and private investment in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 229-242, October.
    4. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
    5. Carlos Scartascini & Mariano Tommasi & Ernesto H. Stein, 2008. "Un Enfoque Intertemporal Interactions and Policy Adaptability: How Do Political Institutions Work?," Research Department Publications 4594, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    6. 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.
    7. Miguel Braun & Luciano Di Gresia, 2003. "Towards Effective Social Insurance in Latin America: The Importance of Countercyclical Fiscal Policy," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 1463, Inter-American Development Bank.
    8. Douglass C. North, 1990. "A Transaction Cost Theory of Politics," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 2(4), pages 355-367, October.
    9. Pablo T. Spiller, 2003. "The Institutional Foundations of Public Policy: A Transactions Approach with Application to Argentina," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 281-306, October.
    10. Witold J. Henisz, 2002. "The institutional environment for infrastructure investment," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 355-389.
    11. Eduardo Lora, 2001. "Structural Reforms in Latin America: What Has Been Reformed and How to Measure It," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 3338, Inter-American Development Bank.
    12. repec:cup:apsrev:v:99:y:2005:i:04:p:567-581_05 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Arturo Galindo & Carlos Scartascini & J. Mark Payne & Robert Daughters & Alberto Melo & Koldo Echebarría & Eduardo Lora & Gabriel Filc & Alejandro Micco & Alberto E. Chong & Ugo Panizza & Juan Benavid, 2007. "The State of State Reform in Latin America," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 352 edited by Eduardo Lora, March.
    14. Levy, Brian & Spiller, Pablo T, 1994. "The Institutional Foundations of Regulatory Commitment: A Comparative Analysis of Telecommunications Regulation," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 201-246, October.
    15. Carlos Scartascini, 2007. "The Institutional Determinants of Political Transactions," Research Department Publications 4483, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
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    17. Ludwig van den Hauwe, 2005. "Constitutional economics," Public Economics 0508010, EconWPA, revised 22 Dec 2005.
    18. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 271-303, September.
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    20. Eduardo Lora, 2001. "Structural Reforms in Latin America: What Has Been Reformed and How to Measure It," Research Department Publications 4293, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    21. Carlos Scartascini, 2007. "The Institutional Determinants of Political Transactions," Research Department Publications 4483, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    22. Arturo Galindo & Carlos Scartascini & J. Mark Payne & Robert Daughters & Alberto Melo & Koldo Echebarría & Eduardo Lora & Gabriel Filc & Alejandro Micco & Alberto E. Chong & Ugo Panizza & Juan Benavid, 2007. "The State of State Reform in Latin America," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 59578 edited by Eduardo Lora, February.
    23. Bardhan, Pranab, 1996. "Efficiency, Equity and Poverty Alleviation: Policy Issues in Less Developed Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1344-1356, September.
    24. Carlos Scartascini & Mariano Tommasi & Ernesto H. Stein, 2008. "Veto Players, Intertemporal Interactions and Policy Adaptability: How Do Political Institutions Work?," Research Department Publications 4593, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    25. repec:idb:brikps:40178 is not listed on IDEAS
    26. Mariano Tommasi & Pablo T. Spiller & Ernesto Stein, 2003. "Political Institutions, Policymaking Processes, and Policy Outcomes. An Intertemporal Transactions Framework," Working Papers 59, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Jul 2003.
    27. Avinash Dixit & Gene M. Grossman & Faruk Gul, 2000. "The Dynamics of Political Compromise," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 531-568, June.
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    29. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David Hulme & Antonio Savoia & Kunal Sen, 2015. "Governance as a Global Development Goal? Setting, Measuring and Monitoring the Post-2015 Development Agenda," Global Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 6(2), pages 85-96, May.
    2. Aiolfi, Marco & Catão, Luis A.V. & Timmermann, Allan, 2011. "Common factors in Latin America's business cycles," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 212-228, July.
    3. Natalia Melgar & Máximo Rossi, 2012. "A Cross‐Country Analysis of the Risk Factors for Depression at the Micro and Macro Levels," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, pages 354-376.
    4. Becerra, O. & Cavallo, E. & Scartascini, C., 2012. "The politics of financial development: The role of interest groups and government capabilities," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 626-643.
    5. Javier Mejía Cubillos, 2011. "Reflexión Sobre Los Sistemas Partidistas, La Estabilidad De Las Políticas Y El Desarrollo Económico," Contribuciones a las Ciencias Sociales, Grupo Eumed.net (Universidad de Málaga), issue 2011-11, november.
    6. Cingolani L, 2013. "The State of State Capacity : a review of concepts, evidence and measures," MERIT Working Papers 053, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    7. María Franco Chuaire & Carlos Scartascini & Mariano Tommasi, 2017. "State capacity and the quality of policies. Revisiting the relationship between openness and government size," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(2), pages 133-156, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political institutions; Public policies; Government capabilities; Veto players; Intertemporal cooperation; Development; Human Development Index; Public expenditures; Policy index; Adaptability; Stability; Judicial independence; Party institutionalization; Congress capabilities; Cabinet stability;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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