Making Constitutions: Presidents, Parties, and Institutional Choice in Latin America

Making Constitutions: Presidents, Parties, and Institutional Choice in Latin America

By: Gabriel L. Negretto (author)Hardback

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Negretto provides the first systematic explanation of the origins of constitutional designs from an analytical, historical and comparative perspective. Based on analysis of constitutional change in Latin America from 1900 to 2008 and four detailed case studies, Negretto shows the main determinants of constitutional choice are the past performance of constitutions in providing effective and legitimate instruments of government and the strategic interests of the actors who have influence over institutional selection. The book explains how governance problems shape the general guidelines for reform, while strategic calculations and power resources affect the selection of specific alternatives of design. It emphasizes the importance of events that trigger reform and the designers' level of electoral uncertainty for understanding the relative impact of short-term partisan interests on constitution writing. Negretto's study challenges predominant theories of institutional choice and paves the way for the development of a new research agenda on institutional change.

About Author

Gabriel L. Negretto (Bahia Blanca, Buenos Aires, Argentina) is Professor of Political Science at the Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas (CIDE), located in Mexico City. He holds a law degree from the University of Buenos Aires, and both a Master of International Affairs with specialization in Latin American Studies and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University. Negretto has been visiting fellow and associate professor at the University of Notre Dame, Princeton University, The New School for Social Research, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, and Columbia University. He has published numerous articles on political institutions, institutional design, and constitutional change in American, European, and Latin American academic journals such as the Journal of Politics, the British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, the Law and Society Review, Latin American Politics and Society, the Journal of Latin American Studies, Government and Opposition, and Desarrollo Economico. Negretto's most recent work, other than the present book, is the Latin American Constitutional Change Database (


Part I. The Logic of Constitutional Choice: Theory and Data: 1. Constitutional change and patterns of design; 2. A two-level theory of constitutional choice; 3. Determinants of variation in constitutional choice; Part II. Case Studies: The Origins of Reforms: 4. Constitutional change as a means to consolidate power: Argentina 1949; 5. Constitutional change as a strategy to redistribute power: Argentina 1994; 6. Constitutional change as a response to state failure: Colombia 1991; 7. Constitutional change as a remedy for ungovernability: Ecuador 1998.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781107026520
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 296
  • ID: 9781107026520
  • weight: 610
  • ISBN10: 1107026520

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