RG-T4022 : The Political Economy of Reform. How to Make Reforms Happen
Project Status: Implementation
The TC would finance a series of projects to consolidate recent advances in the political economy of reform and to collect new evidence that will serve to provide more explicit guidance to policy makers that goes beyond "quick wins", "simplicity and 30 second soundbites", and "compensating losers". Policy makers in the region have long been aware of these tactics, but none have been sufficient to accelerate reform. Novel solutions that will be investigated relate to the content, targeting and modality of communication strategies and information; citizen engagement and participation in reform processes; and the interaction of these with digital tools and social media to increase support for reforms. The underlying theme of this agenda is that common strategies of reform have been insufficient to overcome citizen mistrust in public officials and each other. Hence, loser compensation fails because losers do not believe will be compensated; quick wins fail because they do not persuade citizens that long-term reform objectives are credible. Trust depends on reforms that reduce the informational and power asymmetries between citizens and government, one of the main conclusions of IDB's flagship publication Development in the Americas 2021. Uninformed citizens have no reason to believe that governments will carry out their promises; powerless citizens have no ability to punish governments that fail to carry them out.