Jose Antonio Cheibub, Zachary Elkins & Tom Ginsburg

89 Texas L. Rev. 1707

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In this Article, Professors Cheibub, Elkins, and Ginsburg argue that the century or region in which a constitution was written is a better predictor of institutional similarity than its classification as presidential, parliamentary, or semi-presidential.

The authors examine the origins of various Latin American constitutions, comparing them with the constitutions from which they drew influence.  They conclude that Latin American constitutions have departed from their influencing documents and, instead, have more in common with one another.  Beyond this, the authors argue that Latin American constitutions contain a number of unique mechanisms conducive to increases in executive authority—a source of abuse.  Specifically, Latin American constitutions are more likely to allow for broader emergency powers of the president, more discretion in determining whether emergency conditions exist, and an expanded role in lawmaking from non-Latin American presidential constitutions.