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The Process of Reform in Latin America: A Review Essay


  • Jeff Dayton-Johnson

    (Monterey Institute of International Studies)

  • Juliana Londoño

    (Paris School of Economics)

  • Sebastián Nieto Parra



This paper contributes to literature on the process of reform in Latin America. We study political economy aspects and the policy making process of reforms in what we identify as the five critical steps through the "life cycle" of a policy reform: the Planning, Dialogue, Adoption, Implementation, and Sustainability stages. This paper illustrates that the most important actors involved and the major bottlenecks vary at different stages of the reform process. Explanations for successful or failed reform experiments must therefore adequately account for this temporal dimension of reforms. Similarly, policy makers may increase the chances of success of their reform platforms by paying due attention to this stylised pattern of actors and bottlenecks. We also consider in some detail the actors who interact during the reform cycle, and review their changing strength and capacity in recent decades in Latin America. Ce document contribue à la littérature sur le processus de réforme en Amérique latine. Nous étudions les aspects d'économie politique et le processus de formulation des politiques dans ce que nous identifions comme les cinq étapes critiques du « cycle de vie » d'une réforme: la Planification, le Dialogue, l'Adoption, l'Exécution et la Soutenabilité. Ce document étudie la variété des acteurs majeurs impliqués et des obstacles rencontrés à chaque étape du processus de réforme. Les explications quant à la réussite ou l’échec des expériences de réforme doivent donc rendre compte de la dimension temporelle des réformes. De même, les décideurs de politiques peuvent augmenter les chances de succès de leurs plates-formes de réforme en accordant attention à ce modèle stylisé d’acteurs et d’obstacles. Nous analysons également en détail les acteurs qui interagissent au cours du cycle de réformes, et examinons l’évolution de leur pouvoir et capacité au cours des dernières décennies en Amérique latine.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeff Dayton-Johnson & Juliana Londoño & Sebastián Nieto Parra, 2011. "The Process of Reform in Latin America: A Review Essay," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 304, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:devaaa:304-en
    DOI: 10.1787/5kg3mkvfcjxv-en

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    Cited by:

    1. -, 2019. "Perspectivas económicas de América Latina 2019: desarrollo en transición," Coediciones, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 44525 edited by Cepal.

    More about this item


    Amérique latine; capacité de l’état; formulation de politiques; institutions politiques; Latin America; policy making process; political economy; political institutions; reforms; réformes; state capacity; économie politique;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B49 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Other
    • 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
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism


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