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Political-Institutional Problems which Hinder Better Public Policies in Present-Day Argentina

Carlos H. Acuña

This paper aims at discussing institutional problems in present-day Argentina, which hinder the design and implementation of more legitimate and efficient public policies. It is divided into two major sections. In the first section, the context of political reform in Argentina is provided and risks are listed. In the second section, some of the aspects ignored by the on-going political reform process are discussed, including some features in government that hinder better design and implementation of public policies in Argentina.

The second section aims at identifying elements in the novel democratic stability that weaken the ability to design and implement public policies. The discussion indicates various aspects in political and State reforms, which it seems are not given the importance they deserve. The central argument is that the design and implementation of public policies is crisscrossed by three conflicts; three collective action problems that are -under the Games Theory- interconnected. Actors and governments concurrently play all three games.

Out of these conflicts, officialdom / opposition is the most known. Attempts at solving it include State policies aimed at overcoming party tension by means of consensus on goals and long-term action guidelines. The problem gets worse as the other two conflicts -on the one hand, nation - sector interests and nation - regional interests expressed in Congress, and, on the other hand, conflicts in the Executive itself- are not consistent with a logical, inter-party political fight. As a result, the remaining two conflicts cannot be resolved with inter-party agreements on State policies, but from institutional reforms reflecting agreements among actors and inter-party, extra-party, national and regional interests. Despite the central character of the last two conflicts, they are not viewed as a priority in the reform agenda currently implemented in Argentina.

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