State Capacities, Elites and Patterns of Development in Latin America

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
CLM.B.06 (Clement House)
Flavio Gaitan, UNILA, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil; UNILA, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil
Renato Boschi, IESP/UERJ and INCT-PPED, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
As part of an on-going project specifying different modes of coordination in Latin American economies, we propose to carry out a comparative analysis of Latin American countries (particularly, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico) focusing on patterns of public/private relations, the role of labor and social protection, and the role of private enterprises in promoting innovation. We will establish a dialogue with some of the theoretical assumptions in the VoC literature, (in particular the notions of positive complementarities) and also with the so-called new developmental approaches that have emerged recently in the Latin American academic and political discourse. We address development as a long-run process in which the pace and nature of institutional change makes a difference in terms of performance, combined with some political institutional dimensions such as the structural characteristics of governing coalitions, party orientation, and arenas of interaction between the state and entrepreneurial interest representation.

Contrasting with approaches that relate performance either to populist or to a typical social democratic model of development, we want to highlight nuances in terms of continuity and stability in the recent trajectory of these countries, in particular, the transition from a neoliberal to a state-led scenario. In addition, we address the notion of state capacities understood as the ability to define and pursue objectives and to attain inter bureaucratic coordination as essential in a developmental agenda. Such agenda should include macro-economic stability, promotion of long term investments and the maintenance of social inclusion as  a strategy of market expansion.

The countries selected in the study represent different arrangements in terms of the dimensions proposed above. The comparison calls attention to differences in an overall pattern of capitalist development derived from the ways in which strategic actors face and resolve problems of coordination under similar critical conjunctures. This analytical perspective also specifies the interactions between internal and external processes in the configuration of national productive regimes.