Assessing the Influence of Actors on e-Government Policies: Evidences from Chile and Costa Rica Experiences

Assessing the Influence of Actors on e-Government Policies: Evidences from Chile and Costa Rica Experiences

Roberto Cortés-Morales (Costa Rica Institute of Technology, Costa Rica)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8524-6.ch008
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E-government development, assumed as a public policy problem, has to consider political issues, where actors play a key role for success or failure on such policies. Several political theories admit the importance of actors in their approaches. Although there are efforts to formalize them, the model presented in this chapter looks to integrate a variety of proposals in the context of public policies. The application of the model to e-government cases on Chile and Costa Rica has shown that the characteristics of the process executed in a timeline (with their successes and failures) can be explained from actors' perspective. Issues like promoting new laws, the coordination of multiple agencies or the priority for projects on political context have to be solved with specific actors using their power resources. The explanations found could be considered for characterize future developments on e-government taking on account how critical is the actors' intervention.
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The importance of actors has been recognized in several fields related with political sciences like institutions (North, 1990; Tsebelis, 2001), policy networks (Klijn, 1998), governance and governability (Prats, 2001) or public policies (Subirats, Knoepfel, Larrue, & Varonne, 2008). However such importance is admitted, one can affirm that not enough efforts to characterize properties on actors have been made. Yet, some notions of concepts related to them like power, have been elaborated. For example, the capacity to avoid changes on institutions (known as veto power) is described by Tsebelis (2001). The source of such power is given by institutional results, like the number of seats that a politic party has on Deputies Chamber. Furthermore, institutional rules could construct complex models based on game theories by which actors could construct scenarios on how to play “political games” (Shepsle & Bonchek, 2005).

However, the political complexities are no limited to institutions. Since 80’s decade, the reduction of the size and capacity of State and government has implied that other actors, not related directly to institutional contexts, have become more and more important for policy construction and implementation. This has been the case, for example, of policy networks (Klijn, 1998; Fleury, 2002). In this broad perspective, authors like Prats (2001) state that “strategic actors” are important for governability. Such “strategic actors” are capable to block changes on rules that govern any given society. A good governability is more that just government. Indeed it is a characteristic of a society.

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