Political Institutions, Policymaking Processes and Policy Outcomes in Brazil

Mar 2006
This paper analyses the dynamics of policy-making among the various political institutions in Brazil. The authors find that the driving force behind policies in Brazil is the strong set of powers given to the President, though several institutions constrain and check this power, in particular the legislature, the judiciary, the public prosecutors, the auditing office, state governors and the Constitution itself. The electorate of Brazil holds the President accountable for economic growth, inflation and unemployment. At least for the past ten years, and particularly during the Lula administration, executive power has been aimed at pushing policy towards macro orthodoxy. Achieving stable macro policies required constitutional amendments as well as considerable legislation. To attain their goals, the past administrations used their property rights over pork to trade for policy changes. The rationale for members of Congress to exchange votes on policy for pork is that the electorates reward or punish members of Congress based on the degree to which pork lands in their district.