Lento or presto? Subnational government capacities and the pace of implementation of contentious policies





Education Reform, Teacher assessment, High-stakes assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mexico, Subnational Government Capacities, Policy implementation, Capacities, Unions, Educational Policy, Politics of Education


Mexico’s implementation of mandatory teacher assessments in 2013 was part of a group of federal reforms aimed at enhancing the quality of state-run education. The reforms elicited strong opposition from key stakeholders. Building on the idea that policy capacities are the set of capabilities necessary to perform policy functions, we examine the effect of subnational government capacities on the pace of implementation of the mandatory teacher assessment in Mexico, a country with one of the most powerful teachers’ unions in the world. After conducting statistical analyses based on panel data encompassing information on subnational government capacities from 2015 to 2017, we find that while subnational governments’ human resources and fiscal capacities are associated with higher proportions of evaluated teachers, repressive capacities do not seem relevant for this purpose. Our research offers valuable lessons for policy makers in terms of recognizing adequate resource allocation and predicting the speed of policy implementation, even in contexts of significant opposition.


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Author Biographies

Javier Rojas, Rabdan Academy Assistant Professor Homeland Security Program

Dr. Javier Rojas is assistant professor of the Homeland Security Program at Rabdan Academy in the United Arab Emirates. From 2016 to 2019, Dr. Rojas was assistant professor at the Centre for Research and Teaching Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City. Previously, he served as senior advisor to the Chief of Staff of the Executive Office of the President of Mexico and to the Secretary of Public Education. He earned his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. His publications focus on educational policy and the politics of education.

Aldo Fernando Ponce, Department of Political Studies CIDE Associate Professor (PIT)

Dr. Aldo Ponce is associate professor at the Department of Political Studies of the Centre for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City. His research has concentrated on political institutions. He has published in a range of journals including European Journal of Political ResearchParty Politics, The Journal of Legislative Studies, Studies in Comparative International DevelopmentGlobal Crime, Latin American Politics and SocietyLatin American Research ReviewThe Journal of Human RightsWest European Politics, among others. He received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Houston.




How to Cite

Rojas, J., & Ponce, A. F. (2021). Lento or presto? Subnational government capacities and the pace of implementation of contentious policies. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 29(August - December). https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.29.5697