The current Law of Education of Bolivia creates the Plurinational Agency for the Evaluation and Accreditation of Bolivian University System (APEASU), with the aim to guarantee the quality of education in the Bolivian University System (SSUF) (Ministerio de Educación de Bolivia, 2010). However, after nine years, this organization has not become operational. This research aims to find the reasons of it, proposing that the factors that have inhibited the implementation of this organization could be found in the informal institution of the –so named- university autonomy. This study uses the cultural perspectives proposed by New Public Management (NPM) and New Economic Institutionalism (NEI) theories. At the same time, the research refers to the concepts of myths, consociational democracy, conceptual stretching, and associational governance to unravel its argument. The investigation also argues that the presence of the concept of university autonomy had (and will) inhibit the development and implementation of any Government’s initiative that would propose an accreditation mechanism which does not acquire an autonomous character , and where the role of Autonomous Public Universities (APU) is not being central and prominent. The consequences that the lack of understanding of this concept have had for the SSUF in terms of internal division, elite capture and distortion of the accreditation mechanism are also revised in detail. In the last part of the document, the research proposes some policy recommendations that might allow the implementation of APEASU, to enhance and transform the quality of university education in Bolivia.

university autonomy, mechanisms of accreditation, informal institutions, quality in university education, consociational democracy, associational governance, Bolivian university system
Berner, Erhard
Social Policy for Development (SPD)
International Institute of Social Studies

Deuer Cenzano, Alvaro Israel. (2019, December 20). Informal institutions and their role in public policy development : Case study: University autonomy and the implementation of the accreditation and quality assessment mechanisms in the Bolivian university system. Social Policy for Development (SPD). Retrieved from