Reassessing the impact of institutions on economic reform in Brazil [electronic resource] /
ABSTRACT: During the 1980s and early 1990s Brazil, like much of Latin America, passed through a period of economic crisis, as the country struggled to pay its foreign debt and inflation reached four-digit levels. While most large countries in Latin American began to enact structural, or "neoliberal," reforms in response to this crisis, Brazil was often seen a laggard. Political scientists looked at the country's political institutions for reasons for Brazil's delay in passing economic reform. This emphasis on political institutions mirrored a general trend in political science, which is often referred to as the "new institutionalism." The problematic design of Brazilian political institutions, such as federalism, presidentialism, multipartism, the constitution of 1988, the electoral system, and Congress, played a role in Brazil's late start with economic reform. However, extensive reforms have been implemented in recent years, most notably during the presidency of Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Despite the extensive economic reforms that have been passed since the mid-1990s, political scientists, especially those from North America, still stress the deleterious nature of Brazil's institutional design. I argue for a reassessment of the impact of institutions on economic reform in Brazil. Specifically, I look at four factors that help to account for economic reform in Brazil: the timing of reform; the type of reform proposed (first- versus second-generation reforms); the role of ideas and ideology among the political class; and the role of economic and (non-institutional) political factors. Collectively, these factors help to explain how economic reforms have been so extensive in recent years, in spite of the problematic design of the Brazilian political system.
School:University of Florida
School Location:USA - Florida
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:economic stabilization policy history brazil economics politics 1995
Date of Publication: