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The Center of Government in Latin America *

The Emerald Handbook of Public Administration in Latin America

ISBN: 978-1-83982-677-1, eISBN: 978-1-83982-676-4

Publication date: 12 January 2021


This chapter analyzes the concept of the Center of Government (CoG) and its relevance for the public administration agenda in Latin America. It identifies five key functions of the CoG: strategic management, policy coordination, performance monitoring and improvement, political management, and communications and accountability, and it assesses the region's performance for each of them, citing concrete experiences. The CoG is still an emerging topic for scholars and practitioners in Latin America. Despite the fact that CoGs in Latin America formally recognize most if not all of its five key functions, the region shows a relatively weak performance in practice. Nonetheless, recent innovative experiences show an increased interest in governments to strengthen the CoG and suggest paths that may lead to improved performance.

The CoG may be a relatively new topic in public administration research, but it is not a new phenomenon. It refers to functions that have been performed, and to structures that have existed, for several decades in many countries, including Latin American ones. However, a number of factors have led to an increased relevance of CoG institutions in recent years. The first section of this chapter will attempt to define the concept of “Center of Government”; to enumerate the CoG's main political and technical functions; to describe the typical structures that perform these functions; and to indicate why these institutions play a critical role in current times. Then, Section 2 will discuss how CoG institutions in Latin American countries have been performing their core functions, identifying regional trends and country-level configurations. The political economy of CoG strengthening will also be covered. Section 3 concludes.



Alessandro, M. and Lafuente, M. (2021), "The Center of Government in Latin America * ", Peters, B.G., Tercedor, C.A. and Ramos, C. (Ed.) The Emerald Handbook of Public Administration in Latin America, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 319-342.



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