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Bureaucracy and Politics

The Emerald Handbook of Public Administration in Latin America

ISBN: 978-1-83982-677-1, eISBN: 978-1-83982-676-4

Publication date: 12 January 2021


This chapter explores the question of the relationship between bureaucracy and politics in Latin America. The objective is exploring the role that politics plays in guaranteeing a professional and autonomous bureaucracy structure.

The chapter first examines an institutional explanation for bureaucratic performance. I will scrutinize the institutional arrangements that might preclude the existence of a professional bureaucracy. The chapter then “brings the state back in,” under the assumption that the explanation for performance of bureaucracy might have been related to long-lasting conditions of “Stateness.” The bureaucracy is analyzed in a more historical perspective and relates the former with specific societal and partisan coalitions at the time of state consolidation. These historical decisions seem to have determined a pattern of clientelistic utilization of the State apparatus in some countries but not in others. The partial evidence presented in this section suggests the importance of “state strength” to understand bureaucratic performance.



Negri, J.J. (2021), "Bureaucracy and Politics", Peters, B.G., Tercedor, C.A. and Ramos, C. (Ed.) The Emerald Handbook of Public Administration in Latin America, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 289-317.



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