Understanding Development Bureaucracies: A Case Study of Mexico’s Rural Development Policy

Macedo Castillejos, Ignacio (2014) Understanding Development Bureaucracies: A Case Study of Mexico’s Rural Development Policy. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This research is about how development practice is produced by development bureaucracies. In 2001, the Mexican Congress enacted a new national law called Ley de Desarrollo Rural Sustentable (Sustainable Rural Development Act) seeking to produce the radical change that the Mexican rural sector needed to improve the social and economic conditions of the rural population. Its policy design was based on the dominant paradigm of rural development, of which ideas such as sustainable livelihoods, decentralisation and community participation compose the core elements. Ten years since the launch of this policy it has not triggered the expected changes in social and economic conditions in rural Mexico.
This work seeks to provide grounded explanations about why some ‘good’ development policies produce unexpected outcomes. The research focus is on understanding how development bureaucracies translate the directives of development programmes. It is possible to see their influence on policy outcomes and in the rationale behind the decisions made by bureaucratic actors in the implementation arena.
Making use of actor-oriented approaches, this thesis develops a case study that describes how, responding to multiple realities, bureaucratic actors make their decisions in the implementation arena. It analyses the different rationales by which bureaucracies at different levels interpret and produce meaning from the notions of decentralisation and community participation in the process of the implementation of Mexico’s Ley de Desarrollo Rural Sustentable.
The case study shows that development bureaucracies play a key role in the generation of policy outcomes. It shows that Mexican development bureaucracies have a particular rationale that is significantly different from the implicit assumptions made in the design of the planned intervention and in which informal institutions such as compadrazgo and clientelism are used strategically by bureaucratic actors to produce development practice. The main conclusion of the thesis is that understanding development bureaucracies’ rationales provides coherent explanations about the apparently contradictory outcomes produced by novel policy approaches in developing countries.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
Depositing User: Mia Reeves
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2014 11:25
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2014 11:25
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/48690
DOI:

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