There is a growing interest in Latin America and the Caribbean in strengthening the strategic Center of Government (CoG). Stricto sensu, the CoG refers to the institution or group of institutions that provide direct support to the Chief Executive (President or Prime Minister) in the management of government. This paper provides a conceptual framework of the CoG, describing its principal purpose, core functions, and typical structures. In addition, it presents exploratory empirical evidence to analyze to what extent the CoGs in Latin America and the Caribbean are performing these functions. Based on an analysis of the regional trends that will be presented herein, this paper will outline a possible work agenda for CoG strengthening in the region. Finally, the paper proposes an Institutional Development Matrix (IDM) as a tool that can help countries diagnose the capacity gaps between what CoGs are doing and what they should be doing to achieve their stated goals.
An enterprising young grad student should do a critical assessment of CoG and Tsebelis’ “veto points” as competing frameworks for understanding institutional development in developing countries.