Policymaking and policy analysis in Latin America—A return journey

Abstract

This paper reviews and updates the conceptual approaches of the author's Journeys Towards Progress (1963). It focuses first on distinctions explaining differences in the path of policymaking and in its effectiveness. Distinctions are made between pressing and autonomously chosen policy problems, between privileged problems and neglected ones that must manage to “ride the coattails” of the former to receive attention, and between policy tasks that are tackled with more motivation than understanding and those with the opposite characteristic. Addressing then similarities in experience with policymaking, the paper first comments on fracasomania (the failure complex) and on the incapacity ever to be surprised at both consequences and determinants of under-development. Indirect and unanticipated effects of policies are illustrated through a Colombian example. A Concluding Lament suggests that the watch for side-effects must be unusually wide-angled in today's Latin America.

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This is a revision of a paper submitted to the Social Science Research Council Conference on Public Policy and its Impacts in Latin America, Buenos Aires, August 12–15, 1974.

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Hirschman, A.O. Policymaking and policy analysis in Latin America—A return journey. Policy Sci 6, 385–402 (1975). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00142381

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Keywords

  • Economic Policy
  • Paper Review
  • Policy Analysis
  • Conceptual Approach
  • Policy Problem