Bureaucracy and politics in Mexico, 1976-1992 : the rise and fall of the SPP
This thesis examines the relationship between the central bureaucracy and politics in Mexico. In doing so, it focuses on the causes, effects, and implications of the creation of the Secretaria de Programacion y Presupuesto (SPP). The theoretical and analytical framework used to analyse this ministry is provided by the literature stressing the role of institutions. The thesis argues that until the early 1970s, there was a historically grounded, dual policy-network system which reflected a clear-cut separation between economic and political management. It is contended that the emergence and operation of the SPP contributed to the deterioration of this institutional arrangement, thus blurring still further the already tenuous line between the bureaucratic and political realms. It attempts to demonstrate that three mutually dependent factors explains this outcome: (i) the highly centralised and politised setting in which the bureaucracy operates; (ii) the economic contextual influences both external and internal; and (iii) the direction and contents of public sector institutional change. The work is divided into seven chapters. An introductory chapter reviews the relevant literature on the topic, and discusses the analytical framework. Chapter two analyses the historical context up to 1970s, while chapters three to six explore key stages in the SPP life-cycle. The last chapter discusses the overall implications of fifteen years of SPP, and presents the conclusions. There are three main conclusions to the thesis. First, institutional reorganisation in Mexico is far from being cosmetic, for it reflects broader political and economic processes. Second, the SPP becoming an influential political actor as well as a relevant agent of both elite change and economic transformation shows that, under certain circumstances, Mexican ministries can enjoy a considerable degree of autonomy. Third, the lack of a dividing line between administration and politics had relevant implications in both goal displacement and exercise of power at the margin of the existing electoral system. In Mexico, the lack of this dividing line is at odds with a definitive transition towards more democratic practices. On the whole, the thesis suggests that the systematic study of the Mexican bureaucracy and its components, still in an embryonic stage, can shed light on the operation of the political system and its prospects for change.