Bureaucratic Networks and Government Spending: A Network Analysis of Nuclear Cooperation in Latin America

What do technology-driven bureaucratic sectors do when their budgets are cut? In Latin America, this type of state institution has come to expect budget reductions, given recurrent economic crises, lack of coherent science policy, and more recently, state rationalization policies. On the basis of in-depth interviews I conducted with nuclear specialists of the region and drawing from network theories, I argue that bureaucratic institutions with expertise in nuclear science and technology respond strategically to decreased government spending by becoming more active in transnational policy networks. I test this argument using social network and maximum likelihood techniques to study collaborative research projects in nuclear science and technology among twenty Latin American countries over a period of twenty years (1984–2004). Study findings confirm expectations and carry implications for how science policies are adopted in Latin American states under chronic budget deficits.