The Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law is pleased to announce the release of the fifth and final module of mini-lectures in our Solving Public Policy Problems massive open online course (MOOC).
Case studies like this are instrumental to the curriculum for both CDDRL’s Leadership Academy for Development (LAD) and the Masters’ in International Policy (MIP). They address a wide range of issues in developing countries and are designed to encourage you to think critically about key decisions that have led to policy reforms. This video refers to the implementation segment of the problem-solving framework (Module 1.3).
Facilitating Trade through Effective Border Control: Costa Rica's Challenging Reform Agenda
Peñas Blancas, the border post where all overland commerce passed between Costa Rica and Central American countries to the north, was infamously slow and exceedingly congested. Trucks sometimes waited five days or more to pass through the customs post. The inefficiencies also had a real economic cost, as the border crossing was a major contributor to Costa Rica’s national budget through customs-related taxes and duties. Fixing Peñas Blancas had become a major national priority, and the Deputy Minister of Commerce was put in charge of recommending solutions to the congestion problem and improving the collection of taxes and fees. The task was especially complex because of the power of entrenched opponents of reform and the need to reconcile the competing interests of numerous stakeholders. Any solution would have to take into consideration the ways in which government officials, as well as private-sector actors — from exporters to customs brokers to banks — interacted and conducted business at the border crossing.
In this final lecture, Francis Fukuyama introduces the Costa Rica Border Case, focusing on the problem of ineffective border control and its impact on trade facilitation. He elaborates on the shortcomings of Costa Rica’s border crossing controls and outlines how an effective stakeholder analysis could have helped the reform leader, President Laura Chinchilla, build a coalition for policy reform. The lecture delves into who the supporters and opponents are, their respective vested interests, and what they seek to gain from the reforms. Furthermore, it analyzes the strategies to expand the reform leader’s coalition and evaluates the feasibility of implementing their proposed solutions. Through this case study, students will learn how reform leaders can apply stakeholder analysis to formulate an implementation strategy.