Reagan Fascell Fellow, National Endowment for Democracy
with comments by
Director, Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, American University
About the event
The beginning of a new presidential administration in Mexico presents an opportune time to assess important aspects of the country´s efforts to improve governmental transparency and accountability. A range of reform measures, including freedom of information and anti-corruption legislation enacted during the last two decades in Mexico, have strengthened the framework for oversight and control, but implementation and enforcement of these reforms remains problematic.
Meanwhile, functions that are typically in the realm of the public sector are increasingly being handled by private corporations, non-profit organizations, independent contractors, or quasi-governmental entities. Some of the nascent gains achieved in governmental transparency and accountability therefore have the potential to be undermined by the growing responsibilities that are placed in private sector hands.
In her presentation, Irma Sandoval-Ballesteros focused on the Mexican case to examine the dynamics of how this new context of “structural pluralism” of public authority is affecting policy, including how Mexico’s new and comprehensive FOIA law is failing to meet its promise. Ms. Sandoval-Ballesteros offered recommendations for developing strategies to expand transparency and anti-corruption policies that can help strengthen democratic institutions in Mexico. Her presentation was followed by comments by Mr. Eric Hershberg.
About the speakers
Ms. Irma Sandoval-Ballesteros is associate professor at the Institute for Social Research and director of the Laboratory for the Documentation and Analysis of Corruption and Transparency at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). She is also a member of Mexico’s National System of Researchers and recipient of the prestigious 2009 Manuel Espinosa Yglesias Award and a research fellow at the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies at American University. An international expert on transparency, accountability, and political economy, she has published over two dozen book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals, including the Administrative Law Review, Revista Mexicana de Sociologia, Perfiles Latinoamericanos, and Fondo de Cultura Económica. Her most recent books include Crisis, Rentismo e Intervencionismo Neoliberal en la Banca: México, 1982–1999 (2011) and Contemporary Debates on Corruption and Transparency: Rethinking State, Market, and Society (2011). She has worked as a senior consultant to the World Bank, UNDP, Global Integrity, Open Society Institute, and the Budget Accountability Project. During her fellowship, Dr. Sandoval-Ballesteros is writing a book manuscript that proposes a new, “structural” approach to studying corruption in the context of democratic transition.
Mr. Eric Hershberg is the director of the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University.