Gov Accountability

Exposing Argentina's rapidly growing government bureaucracy

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Argentina’s current government leadership has held power for not quite a year and a half, but has already increased the government’s bureaucratic structure by 25 percent, reveals a new study from Buenos Aires–based Atlas Network partner Libertad y Progreso. There are now 1,124 administrative units in the Argentinian government, the study reveals, despite political promises from the current administration that the size and scope of government would be reduced.

This rapid growth of government in recent months accelerates an ongoing trend in Argentina, the full Libertad y Progreso study explains. The number of state employees has more than doubled in the last 15 years, and public spending grew from 30 percent of GDP in 2003 to 46 percent in 2015.

“The cost of taxation in Argentina is very high, and this severely affects its competitiveness, which discourages investment” the study explains (translated from Spanish). “This is a consequence of an overflow of public spending. We believe that the majority of society will be receptive to any attempt to reduce the burden of the state and improve its benefits.”

In order to stem the rising tide of bureaucracy, punitive tax rates, and burdensome government spending, Libertad y Progreso proposes tackling government reform on two primary fronts. First, efficiency and quality of existing state services can be streamlined by reforming the rules, labor standards, accounting methods, and management technology used by Argentina’s government agencies. Second, the government’s bureaucratic structure itself should be simplified and reduced by eliminating unnecessary, redundant, or overlapping responsibilities across agencies and between federal, provincial, and municipal governments. The study lays out a detailed plan for a radically more efficient government structure.

The study is accompanied by an interactive website that maps the entire structure of the Argentinian government, with a directory of bureaucratic ministries, units, and sub-units; an organizational chart; and exhaustive lists of regulations and judicial rulings. The Libertad y Progreso study garnered widespread media attention in only a few days, with dozens of reports in Argentina’s news media, as well as several television and radio interviews with Libertad y Progreso President Agustín Etchebarne.