The Political Economy of Interoperability


Project started on April 15, 2021 (Still Active)

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is a public international organization that works to improve lives in Latin America and the Caribbean through financial and technical support for countries working to reduce poverty and inequality, improve health and education, and advance infrastructure.

Interoperability, understood as the ability of disparate and diverse organizations to interact towards mutually beneficial and agreed common goals, involving the sharing of information and knowledge between the organizations, through the business processes they support, by means of the exchange of data between their respective information and communication technologies systems, is perhaps the most disruptive paradigm shift that digital transformation entails.

Students and teacher at computer in ColombiaWith funding provided by the IDB, Mila Gasco-Hernandez and Ramon Gil-Garcia are working on the project “The political economy of interoperability” with the goal of identifying the factors that hinder or enable interoperability in Latin America and, in particular, in Ecuador and Colombia. These two countries share important similarities (e.g. digital government development in general, institutional strength, overall level of national economic development), but diverge in regards to the development of national interoperability schemes (e.g. in terms of the proportion of public sector institutions connected to the central interoperability platform, the number of services offered, and transactional volume.

In order to achieve the goal of the project, the CTG team is conducting in-depth interviews in both countries to better understand success factors of interoperability processes. They are using a framework that includes six categories of variables: (1) data and information factors, (2) technology-related factors, (3) organizational factors, (4) factors related to the governance of the interoperability network, (5) institutional factors, and (6) contextual factors.

This project will result in the production of two final deliverables: 1) a report in Spanish that identifies the factors that enable or hinder the development of interoperability in Ecuador and Colombia, and that will be published as an IDB report and 2) an article in English, which will be submitted to an academic journal.

Funding Sources

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is the primary source of funding.