Job Opening

Posting Title: Division of power, interests and representation: dissecting the logics of constitution of decision-making bureaucracies of ministries – Theme: Agriculture
Department/Office: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
Duty Station: BRASILIA
Posting Period: 19 July 2022 - 27 July 2022
Job Opening Number: 22-Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean-186611-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

The research results will contribute to the identification of interests represented in the executive's top bureaucracy and the mechanisms by which they are introduced in this sphere and influence the government policy agenda, specifically in the agricultural area. With the expansion of knowledge about these processes and results, it is intended to stimulate the improvement of governance structures and capacities of the Brazilian State.

Work Location

Brasília

Expected duration

180 Days

Duties and Responsibilities

In the last two decades, there has been an important accumulation of research and knowledge about the government process in the Federal Executive, part of which produced by Diest/Ipea itself. Regarding specifically the middle and high-ranking federal bureaucracy, we now have a better understanding of management activities and degree of partisanship.
Despite this progress, we lack a more detailed and informed understanding of what can be considered a true blind spot in the functioning of Brazilian coalition presidentialism: the profile of the decision-making level bureaucracy and its link to political interests, from parties or organized groups. It is necessary to identify which interests are represented in the executive's top bureaucracy, how and through which mechanisms they are introduced in this sphere, and how they influence the government's policy agenda.
Analyzing the composition and transformation of the bureaucratic elite, its fragmentation and intertwining with politics is a channel to regularly identify the motivations and implications of the circulation of administrative elites within the State, as well as their role in the emergence of new themes and agendas in public policy.
This project dialogues with at least two other research agendas from Diest/Ipea, on state capacities and on the National Congress. In the first case, because a decision-making level bureaucracy articulated with the instances of power and representation of interests is an essential input for the planning of public policies which, in turn, is a key component of state capacities. In the case of research on the National Congress, because the accumulated knowledge about the functioning of coalition presidentialism shows that Congress, more specifically the governing coalition, is a central piece in defining the composition of the decision-making level bureaucracy.
As an example of issues that can be better understood with the execution of this project, consider the recent case of the Ministry of Health, shortly after the beginning of the Sars-Covid19 pandemic. In a period of little more than a year, the ministry was led by four different ministers, who influenced, each with different intensity, high and mid-level cadres crucial for decisions on cardinal public policies to deal with the pandemic. How do the changes at the top of the ministry dialogue with interests constituted within it, of private groups and career bureaucrats? What is the role of the minister in the articulation of these groups? How do those changes manifest themselves in the formulation and implementation of public policies?
The objective of the project is to empirical research to improve the understanding of the process of division of political and administrative power in government ministries, specifically the insertion and influence of parties and interest groups in the decision-making level bureaucracy of the Federal Executive, that is, the holders of discretionary offices of medium and high levels.
More broadly, the research will make it possible to advance the understanding of the government's logic of operation under coalition presidentialism, especially the formation of the policy agenda and the representation of interests in the decision-making level bureaucracy.
The research questions that guide the project are the following:
• Which party or organized group interests are represented in the decision-making level bureaucracy?
• What is the Executive's organizational logic: centralization of the agenda in the presidency, autonomy of formulation by ministries, autonomy of ministers or autonomy of decision-making groups in the bureaucracy?
• What are the implications of different organizational configurations and bureaucracy profiles for the government's policy agenda?
METHODOLOGY
The research object of this project is empirical and will use qualitative methods to analyze the following data, to be collected:
• Semi-directive interviews with (former) members of the high bureaucracy and party leaders, aiming to collect information to reconstruct the profile and power struggles within the decision-making bureaucracies in each ministry.
• Prosopographical research of senior bureaucracy leaders from the private sector (for profit or not), aiming to deepen the understanding of the profile of this group.
It is intended to bring together researchers on the subject and specialists in monitoring ministerial policies, from IPEA and abroad, to reconstruct and analyze the profile of the leading bureaucracy of selected ministries, throughout different governments. Researchers will be asked to answer, for specific areas of public policy/ministry, common questions defined from a conceptual and theoretical framework to be proposed by the project coordinators.

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: - Master or Doctorate in Political Science or Public Administration.
Experience: - Minimum of 03 (three) years of experience in research, analysis of sectoral public policies, public administration, bureaucracy or state capacity and/or related topics
Language: Portuguese and English

Additional Information

Outputs/ Works Assignment:
Product 1 – Report containing a plan and methodology for conducting the interviews and prosopography. To be submitted 60 days after start date.
Product 2 - Descriptive report of the data (interviews and prosopography), in the agricultural area, answering the questions defined by the project coordinators. To be submitted 180 days after start

No Fee

THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CHARGE A FEE AT ANY STAGE OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS (APPLICATION, INTERVIEW MEETING, PROCESSING, OR TRAINING). THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CONCERN ITSELF WITH INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS’ BANK ACCOUNTS.

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