Mariano Tommasi

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Mariano Tommasi is Professor of Economics at Universidad de San Andrés in Argentina. He specializes in institutional economics and politics and in political economy, with focus on developing countries. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society. He has held Visiting Professorship positions in Business, Economics, Political Science, and Latin American Studies at Columbia, Harvard, Tel Aviv, UCLA, and Yale. He was President of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (2004-2005) and a Guggenheim Fellow (2006-2008). He is an associate researcher at the Research Department of the Inter-American Development Bank. He is the author of more than 50 academic articles, including some published in the American Economic Review, American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Monetary Economics, International Economic Review, Economics & Politics, Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Theoretical and Institutional Economics, and Journal of Public Economic Theory as well as chapters in the Handbook of New Institutional Economics, Handbook of Latin American Economics, and Handbook of Latin American Political Economy.  His most recent book, How Democracy Works? Institutions, Actors and Arenas in Latin American Policymaking, was published in 2010 by Harvard University Press.


Universidad de San Andrés
Departamento de Economía

Vito Dumas 284, Victoria,
Buenos Aires, Argentina, B1644BID

Phone: (5411) 4725-7020
Fax: (5411) 4725-7010




Mariano Tommasi was named Non-Resident Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution in their program Global Economy and Development.
Click here to see his expert page.


El Juego Político en América Latina. Cómo se deciden las políticas públicas?.
with Carlos Scartascini, Pablo Spiller and Ernesto Stein
Inter-American Development Bank - Editorial Mayol


Qué determina la capacidad de los países para diseñar, aprobar e implementar políticas públicas efectivas? Para abordar esta pregunta, este libro analiza el proceso de formulación de políticas en ocho países latinoamericanos en base a una metodología común con fundamentos en la teoría de juegos y el análisis institucional. Este análisis sistemático se concentra en estudiar tanto las instituciones políticas, y el funcionamiento de las instituciones y organizaciones políticas, como los resultados de las políticas. El resultado es un texto que se beneficia tanto de un detallado análisis sobre las complejidades del proceso de formulación de políticas en cada país por separado, como de un análisis interdisciplinario y comparativo de los procesos de formulación de políticas en la región.


El juego político en América Latinase basa en la premisa de que las buenas políticas deben empezar con buenas instituciones, es decir, instituciones que produzcan consensos sociales estables y que, de manera confiable, comprometen a los gobiernos a un curso de acción coherente a lo largo del tiempo. Mirando de forma sistemática el marco de la formulación de políticas a través de América Latina extrae lecciones útiles sobre el tipo de procesos que generan buenas políticas. Este libro constituye una lectura indispensable para los interesados en reformas para esta región.
Francis Fukuyama, Profesor Bernard L. Schwartz de Economía Política Internacional y Director del Programa de Desarrollo Internacional. The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.


El análisis de las políticas ha sido motivado hasta ahora por el interrogante de qué deberían hacer los gobiernos. Sin embargo, los gobiernos rara vez hacen lo que "deberían", quedando así el analista como el fútil predicador de la virtud. Este es un libro que se sale de este paradigma y propone un marco para analizar cómo es que se toman las decisiones de política. Esto debería conducir a una agenda que responda la pregunta de cómo decidir, no solo qué decidir.
Ricardo Hausmann, Profesor de Desarrollo Económico, Escuela de Gobierno John F. Kennedy y Director del Centro para el Desarrollo Internacional, Harvard University.

Este libro presenta interpretaciones fascinantes de los roles de la competencia política, la estructura legislativa, la independencia judicial y otros factores institucionales en la elaboración de las políticas económicas en Latinoamérica. El juego político en América Latina hace importantes contribuciones al análisis de la economía política de los países en desarrollo, que tienen relevancia más allá de la región.

Jeffry A. Frieden, profesor Stanfield de Paz Internacional, Departamento de Gobierno, Harvard University.


How Democracy Works. Political Institutions, Actors, and Arenas in Latin American Policymaking.
with Carlos Scartascini and Ernesto Stein
Inter-American Development Bank - David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University


Over the past 30 years, democratic freedoms and competitive electoral processes have taken hold as never before in Latin America. How Democracy Works takes a detailed look, from an institutional perspective, at each of the main actors on the policymaking stage in Latin America, emphasizing the extent to which institutions facilitate or hinder intertemporal political cooperation and compromise. It analyzes official political actors and arenas, as well as a number of societal actors, and explores the (formal) roles of these players, their incentives, capabilities, and the way in which they actually engage in the policymaking game. The conclusion: these political institutions and actors matter for policymaking in Latin America and leave an indelible imprint on the policy process and the resulting policies.


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"Spiller and Tommasi mobilize formal models and rigorous reasoning to probe the depth of the ongoing crises -- both political and economic -- in Argentina. In doing so, they move the goal posts in the field of comparative politics."
Robert H. Bates, Harvard University

"The Institutional Foundations of Public Policy in Argentina is a fascinating and innovative contribution to contemporary political economy. It recommends shifting focus from the long-term structural factors to an analysis of whether the struggle for power and the structure of political institutions encourage public officials to invest in stable, flexible, and public-regarding policies. Pablo Spiller and Mariano Tommasi provide theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich studies of why Congress, the Supreme Court, the bureaucracy and federalism in Argentinaa country rich with development potentialare unable to produce and stick by effective public policies. The Institutional Foundations of Public Policy in Argentina is a major achievement, one that will be indispensable for students of political economy, public policy, and development studies."
Fabrice Lehoucq, Centro de Investigaciones y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), Mexico City

"Noted economists Pablo Spiller and Mariano Tommasi offer a persuasive explanation of one of the most pressing issues for development. They account for the variation in the promotion of policies that serve the long-term interest of the polity and not just the short-term electoral and monetary interests of the policy-makers. This is political economy at its best. The Institutional Foundations of Public Policy in Argentina uses the most analytically sophisticated tools available in the service of understanding an important case. But this is far more than a single case study. Theirs is a general framework that represents a major contribution to the theory of political and economic development."
Margaret Levi, University of Washington

"Nothing like this study exists for any other country. Relying on positive political theory, this book is the first systematic approach to an integrated study of public policymaking. Spiller and Tommasi apply their approach to Argentina, showing why its political and economic institutions emphasize short-term time horizons that hinder cooperation and long-term solutions to major economic problems. Although Argentine political institutions have many of the features of the American separation of powers system, Spiller and Tommasi explain why these institutions work systematically differently in Argentina than the United States."
Barry R. Weingast, Stanford University

"Pablo Spiller and Mariano Tommasi's book on The Institutional Foundations of Public Policy in Argentina Argentina has been in progress for eight years and is worth the waiting. The authors combine an interdisciplinary framework (in which transaction cost analysis, the theory of repeated games, and positive political theory are joined) with deep archeological knowledge of the workings of politics and policymaking in Argentina. Both parts of this project are ambitious. Both parts complement the other. Students of economic organization who are persuaded of the need for a focused lens to study the governance of contractual relations will not be surprised that a similar strategy is useful for studying complex political organization. The action in both arenas, moreover, resides in the microanalytics. But there is also much more. Contractual politics involves more players and is more difficult than contractual economics; and acquiring the requisite microanalytic knowledge of the phenomena in question is more demanding. The authors have persevered in the face of these difficulties with the result that readers are in for a challenge and a treat. Our understanding of the institutional foundations of public policy in Argentina and more generally have been deepened and transformed in conceptual, theoretical, public policy, and empirical respects. "
Oliver E. Williamson, University of California, Berkeley