Political Institutions, Policymaking Processes, and Policy Outcomes: The Case of Uruguay

Mar 2006
This paper analyses the dynamics of policymaking among the various political institutions in Uruguay. The authors find that first, there are relatively stable policies, such as those allowing for the commercial and financial openness of the country. Then there are inflexible and low-quality policies, such as those related to social policies, some areas of state reform (civil servants' wages and hiring mechanisms), the bankruptcy regime, etc. Finally, there are volatile outcomes resulting from economic shocks, such as those related to discretionary public spending. In certain cases, the main outer feature of Uruguayan policies is rigidity. The source of rigidity appears to be a mixture of institutional factors and political conflict, in which it is very costly to move from the status quo due to the credible threat of policy reversal. Political institutions in Uruguay are conducive to achieving political compromise in the short run, but cannot effectively cooperate in establishing stable and flexible policies in the long run.