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The Masks of the Political God by Luca Ozzano

Sermons, Carrots or Sticks? Explaining Successful Policy Implementation in a Low Performance Institution

Latin America
Public Administration
Public Policy
Mixed Methods
Policy Implementation
Diego Alonso Salazar-Morales
Hertie School of Governance
Diego Alonso Salazar-Morales
Hertie School of Governance

This article explains how after 43 years of unsatisfactory outcomes, the Ministry of Education of Peru (MoE) suddenly ranked at the top of governmental performance tables. To do so, this study relies on implementation and major discussions of policy instrument theories to provide a comprehensive explanation of the reasons underlying the MoE’s improvements. Methodologically, this research employs the mixed research methods paradigm. It combines process-tracing and regression analysis. The analyses show that the MoE underwent three major events in its route to achieve policy success. First, the approval of a long-term policy plan (National Educative Plan to 2021); second, the contentious legitimisation of governmental policies against Peru’s teachers’ union and its eventual defeat; and, third, the recentralisation of historically dispersed control functions in the MoE. The results indicate that upon the occurrence of these reforms, MoE’s bureaucrats could gain teachers’ legitimacy and eventually achieve complementarity of policy tools. In fact, the multiple regression analysis suggests positive and significant interdependence between the set of tools employed by MoE officers: parents’ voluntary monetary contribution to schools (sermon), economic incentives to out-performer schools (carrots) and quarterly oversight of schools’ performance (sticks). Results also show that MoE’s tools are positively associated with satisfactory student-learning outcomes.

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