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LATIN AMERICAN GOVERNMENTS AT A GLANCE: GOALS AND KNOWLEDGE GAPS Jeffrey Rinne June 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "LATIN AMERICAN GOVERNMENTS AT A GLANCE: GOALS AND KNOWLEDGE GAPS Jeffrey Rinne June 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 LATIN AMERICAN GOVERNMENTS AT A GLANCE: GOALS AND KNOWLEDGE GAPS Jeffrey Rinne June 2009

2 A hot topic

3 Tremendous promise... But as it turns out, it’s not that simple [Note the elegant simplicity of “cold fusion”]

4 Presentation outline 1.Our challenges  Theory  Contestability  Conceptual categories 2.All is not lost: Positive incremental steps  SNA and the Public Domain 3.The LAGG initiative  How does it attempt to incorporate these lessons?  Where do we stand?

5 1.Our challenges  Theoretical: rational actors have choices  Metrics can be powerful tools for: a) learning, and b) motivation  But there’s a “motivational problem” too: the many faces of “gaming”  Contestability: no agreed Platonic ideal in goals or their measurement  This means trouble for cross-national metrics  And for tracking metrics over time  Operational categories for common understanding

6 6

7 2.All is not lost  Main messages:  Accept the first two challenges (theory and contestability). Incorporate them; do not dismiss them. THERE IS COMMON GROUND: New institutionalism, policy issues that resonate across countries  Continue the hard work to develop a more robust common language of operational categories to underpin our metrics

8 (a) Operational categories: SNA  A major strength of the SNA is the ability to compile accounts for whole sectors, individual units, or some intermediate levels and to aggregate the accounts in different ways.  But it’s tricky e.g., some non profit institutions are part of “general government” while others are not How to account for “joint ventures”  You can build it up and also take it apart.  How many layers of the onion should be unraveled?  That depends on the question or issue of concern Is it a mammal? Dogs vs. cats; hound vs. non-sporting, terrier …

9 An illustration

10 (b) Operational categories: The “Public Domain”  ORCHESTRATION  Governments use their powers to pass laws affecting the behavior of other economic units.  They redistribute income and wealth by means of taxes and social benefits.  PRODUCTION FACTORY *

11 The Public Domain

12 3.The LAGG initiative

13 The LAGG Initiative (incorporating lessons)  Indicators are (inevitably) both descriptive and prescriptive … but put the weight on description  Why we’re leery of rankings.  Metrics work better when their the products and tools of a Policy Community: donors and governments alike, civil society & researchers  Use extreme caution with perceptions-based and composite indicators  Embrace the need for redundancy and multiple assessments


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