Public Innovation in Post-Transition Countries: Experiences from Brazil and Romania

Dany Flavio Tonelli, Malina Voicu, Marian Zulean


We compare two cases of innovation in public services in Brazil and Romania, aiming to illustrate the connection between innovation, modernization, and path-dependence. One case is the Brazilian Pathway School Program, and the second is the Romanian School Bus Pro­gram. Both countries experienced periods of transition, which we considered fruitful for his­torical analysis. We based our investigation on two comparative case studies, using secondary data and employing document analysis and pre­vious researches’ reports. While Brazilian Path­way School Program proved to be a successful story of designing a centralized policy, Romania walked in the opposite direction, from a central­ized state, under the communist rule, to a polity where innovation occurs at the intersection be­tween local community and central government. In Romania, it would be difficult to perceive the contingencies of local engagement in a country where civil liberty was suspended for 42 years. In Brazil, the inquiry was connected to the atypical federation, where the subnational states devel­oped an extraordinary economic and budgetary dependence on the Union.


path-dependency; actor-network theory; comparative analysis; public-service.

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