Gradual Change and Deconcentration of Presidential Powers in Nineteenth Century Chile: Ideas, Networks, and Institutional Ambiguity

The comparative literature on presidential systems has paid little attention to the causes that explain variation in executive power concentration. We use the case of nineteenth century Chile to uncover the causal path that led to one of Latin America's most far-reaching yet gradual sets of reforms that weakened presidential power. Combining theoretical approaches that emphasize the role of institutions, ideas, networks, and ambiguity, this article seeks to explain how and why Chile went from having one of the most constitutionally powerful presidents in Latin America to one of the weakest, as part of a gradual reform process that lasted three decades.

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