CEPAL Review

Cepal Review is the leading journal for the study of economic and social development issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. Edited by the Economic Commission for Latin America, each issue focuses on economic trends, industrialization, income distribution, technological development and monetary systems, as well as the implementation of economic reform and transfer of technology. Written in English and Spanish (Revista de la Cepal), each tri-annual issue offers approximately 12 studies and essays undertaken by authoritative experts or gathered from conference proceedings.

English Spanish

The role of the State and the quality of the public sector

The author of this article concludes that the quality of the public sector can be assessed only against the role of the State. In general, an efficient public sector should be able to achieve the State’s objectives with the minimum degree of distortion of the market, with the lowest burden of taxation on taxpayers, with the smallest number of public employees, and with the lowest absorption of economic resources by the public sector. The public sector must be transparent in its processes and in its outcome. Corruption should have no part in the decisions made by bureaucrats and political leaders, and the resources in the hands of the public sector should be put to a use that maximizes their social rate of return. The quality of the public sector is also important for pursuing the objective of equity, which is now seen as one of the fundamental goals of the State. A high-quality public sector should make possible the pursuit of equity with the lowest costs in terms of efficiency. Finally, the so-called “first generation reforms” do not necessarily improve the quality of the public sector even though they may improve the quality of public policy. The pursuit of “first generation reforms” has, in fact, highlighted the need to improve the quality of the public sector, and for this to occur, “second generation reforms” are necessary.

English Spanish

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