Working Papers

Building Institutional Capacities of Productive Development Programs

AUTHOR(s): Castro, Lucio , Szenkman, Paula
PUBLISHED: November 2017
RELATED TOPICS: Microeconomics
DOWNLOAD FILE IN: English Spanish


Recent evidence suggests that the success or failure of productive development policies (PDPs) largely depends not so much on the particular characteristics of policies, but on the institutional capacities of public organizations charged with implementing them. This study aims to make it easier to understand institutional capacities’ role in designing and implementing PDPs, through an analysis of three case studies of productive development agencies (PDAs) in Argentina: the City of Buenos Aires’ Technology District (DT), a territorial and sectoral vertical stimulus program; the Export.Ar Foundation, the national export promotion agency; and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MINCyT), the chief public science and technology agency. We found that, beyond the institutional design of PDAs, political capacities—particularly top-level support from the political establishment—play a crucial role in the success of PDPs. We also found that the challenge for PDAs lies in building the technical and organizational capacities that enable “good” PDPs to rise above the “public entrepreneurs” that implemented them, especially against the backdrop of policy volatility, low bureaucratic professionalization, and an informal, inadequately structured public sector, as has occurred in Argentina.

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