The essays collected in this book are very precise and focused empirical studies on the early development of public bureaucracies in Latin American countries. In their own introductory essays, which comprise the first three chapters, the editors of the book elaborate upon that empirical research, presenting ambitious and relevant theoretical proposals related to social science discussions about state building.

This is a necessary and very important book because, first of all, empirical studies about the formation of Latin American bureaucracies remain extremely unusual. And the book has a particularly interesting orientation, given that most of the chapters connect and compare the institutional structures of the colonial administration before independence to the state bureaucracies of the newly independent nations. The empirical studies, in other words, look for continuities as well as ruptures during the key period of transition to independence as well as...

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