The Politics of Policies: Revisiting the Quality of Public Policies and Government Capabilities in Latin America and the Caribbean

Jul 2014
Most policy analyses and academic papers deal with finding the combination of policies that may bring about the best development outcomes. However, in the long run, it is the features of public policies that seem to matter for explaining development outcomes. Unfortunately, Latin America and the Caribbean lags behind other regions in the quality of the features of public policies. Policy features depend on the quality of government institutions, but Latin America and the Caribbean countries have done particularly poorly in that area as well. Not every country, however, fares the same. While a few countries sit alongside the developed world, more than two-thirds of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean score below the median. This policy brief should encourage researchers to use the data, and it may help policymakers to identify which institutions may be reducing the possibility of moving upward and forward. Some of the policy recommendations may help to change current paths.