Edited by David Levi-Faur
Chapter 11: The Institutional Development of the Latin American Regulatory State
Jacint Jordana In the last three decades Latin American countries have radically transformed their administrative states in the context of a large-scale process of liberalization, privatization and democratization (Bresser Pereira and Spink 1999; Lora 2007; Mainwaring and Scully 2010). Out of this process of transformation a complex structure of regulatory governance emerged that might be best described as the Latin American regulatory state. This radical transformation does not mean that regulatory policies are new to Latin America; nonetheless, the extent of the reforms suggests that something new has emerged in the way new regulatory institutions have been extensively diffused in the region. In this chapter, we understand regulation to be a public activity aimed at steering the economy and society by constraining, encouraging or designing its functioning. As the development of regulation in most policy domains is extremely interdependent with the capabilities of those administrative units which are responsible for its direct supervision and implementation, we focus basically on the institutional side of regulation. Eventually, the regulatory state might be able to reduce risks, address market failures or expand the public sphere. It is not a neoliberal invention, although it expanded during the neoliberal age (Levi-Faur 2011). In the following pages we depict the establishment of regulatory institutions in the region after the colonial age, describe a general expansion of regulatory reforms in recent decades, and identify the technocratic and political aspects of the regulatory state. All in all, these elements allow us to distinguish neoliberal imports from historical legacies...
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