Research Handbooks on Impact Assessment series
Edited by Claire A. Dunlop and Claudio M. Radaelli
Chapter 22: Latin America
This chapter focuses on impact assessment (IA) diffusion in the Latin American context based on the premise that important domestic factors influenced the ‘centre to periphery’ diffusion process. Initially, the chapter discusses some common factors that have influenced IA adoption in Latin America, particularly the context of market-oriented reform, which changed the dynamics of the ‘regulatory state’, and the role of international organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and World Bank. The author notes the considerable variability of approaches among selected countries with particular reference to the Mexican, Chilean and Brazilian examples. Each of these countries adopted different strategies, ranging from a centralized organizational model via COFEMER in Mexico to ad hoc IA adaptation in Chile. Important dimensions of the political and institutional landscape of each country, such as the role and capacity of the bureaucracy, have influenced adoption and adaption. The Brazilian case is then explored to illustrate these dimensions. In Brazil, independent regulatory agencies (IRAs) at the federal level are voluntarily adopting IA without the presence of an oversight regulatory body. In this context, an important political actor, the ‘regulocrats’, or technical bureaucrats who are part of arm’s-length IRAs, is key to the malleability of IA. In fact, the initial opposition of regulocrats to IA adoption has been replaced by growing support because the adoption of a better regulatory agenda through instruments such as IAs shields IRA ‘regulocrats’ from exogenous political pressures. This strengthens their actual independence and creates a novel and unexpected outcome of the diffusion process.
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