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Innovation policy in Mexico – long lives the PRI

Patricia Graf
BSP Business School Berlin
Patricia Graf
BSP Business School Berlin
Open Panel

Abstract

Under the rule of the PRI, during decades the political system of Mexico functioned as a highly centralized regime in which power and resources were strictly controlled by the President and there were no checks and balances. In the arena of innovation policy, the dominating governance mechanism, authoritarian corporatism led to a highly discretionary policy: Officials for the National Council for Higher Education and Research and other posts in the policy field were not recruited due to their political or academic skills, but according to corporatist patterns. The leitmotif of the PRI was to maintain political stability, and so the ministries, that dealt with innovation policy, that are the minstry for labour and the minstry for Health, etc. were filled with protagonists of the workers or doctors lobby, etc. Corporatism hindered innovation; nevertheless it also provided important institutional innovations. Already in 1935, the National Council for Higher Education and Research (CONESIC) was founded. In particular, the scientists were incorporated by these and other institutions. The entrepreneurs were hardly involved, what lead to a separation of the spheres “industry” and “science”. The ambition of this paper is to show what paradigms and structures were created in the field of innovation policy by the PRI and how innovation policy helped to stabilize the political regime of the PRI. During the last two decades the political system and therefore innovation policy underwent several reforms. Nevertheless authoritarian paradigms and structures “survived” the transition to democracy – also in the field of innovation policy.By bringing together innovation theories and an actor centred variant of historical institutionalism policies and actor constellations are studied with regards to their perdurability. The paper is pased on 64 qualitative interviews with experts from political institutions in the policy field as well as entrepreneurs and scientists'' associations. It will be shown how By bringing together innovation theories and an actor centred variant of historical institutionalism policies and actor constellations are studied with regards to their perdurability. The paper is pased on 64 qualitative interviews with experts from political institutions in the policy field as well as entrepreneurs and scientists'' associations.