This Inter-American Development Bank paper proposes three principles and twelve recommendations:
The three principles are:
Government capabilities are the outcome over time of endogenous choices by key political actors, as part of a country’s own political equilibrium.
Neither institutions, nor governmental capabilities, can be built by fiat, for instance by copying a “best practice” law from another country.
Cooperation over time and across administrations is necessary.
And the twelve recommendations:
Invest in capabilities, not in “buying them computers”.
Incentives trump rules: avoid a copy/paste mentality.
Focus on “safe bets” reforms.
Try to be consistent over time.
Try not to be an accomplice of capacity destruction.
Act as enforcement and commitment technology of political agreements against the short-term temptations of actors.
Bring on more board players.
Accept middle-of-the-ground solutions.
Be aware of strategic timing issues.
Steer away from the technocratic triumphalism.
Stand up to the political opportunism of ignoring and weakening institutions when riding on favorable political and economic momenta.