As a further extension of the adjustment programs, the state reform processes occurring in Latin America and the Caribbean responded to a criterion of "less state." Throughout the region concurrent processes of decentralization, privatization, deregulation, and outsourcing to the private sector were promoted. As in other periods, the substantive areas of ILPES during the period accompanied the countries in these processes under the auspices of ECLAC, whose iconic publications Sustainable development: changing production patterns, social equity and the environment (1991) and Changing production patterns with social equity (1996) marked thinking on development throughout the decade.
During the decades of the decline in planning (1980s and 1990s), ILPES with ECLAC, maintained its discourse on the importance of the role of the State and promoted the adoption of strategic planning and public management approaches to support country efforts to improve macroeconomic balances. In parallel and at the microeconomic level, ILPES fostered methodologies for evaluation; regional policies and planning; strategic development planning at the local level; fiscal and administrative decentralization and the new structures of the State for these purposes; as well as in privatization, outsourcing and the new public investment systems and processes that supported these fundamental changes in State structures. Towards the end of the 1990s, the Institute began its research in prospective studies, aimed at helping countries begin to plan for future development. And finally, vis-à-vis the problems associated with globalization and competitiveness, the Institute’s work debated its impacts on territorial space and the role of endogenous development and territorial competitiveness as strategies to address these challenges.