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Pork for Policy: Executive and Legislative Exchange in Brazil

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  • Lee J. Alston
  • Bernardo Mueller

Abstract

The Brazilian Constitution of 1988 gave relatively strong powers to the president. We model and test executive-legislative relations in Brazil and demonstrate that presidents have used pork as a political currency to exchange for votes on policy reforms. In particular Presidents Cardoso and Lula have used pork to exchange for amendments to the Constitution. Without policy reforms Brazil would have had greater difficulty meeting its debt obligations. The logic for the exchange of pork for policy reform is that presidents typically have greater electoral incentives than members of Congress to care about economic growth, economic opportunity, income equality, and price stabilization. Members of Congress generally care more about redistributing gains to their constituents. Given the differences in preferences and the relative powers of each, the legislative and executive branches benefit by exploiting the gains from trade. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization.

Volume (Year): 22 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 87-114

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:22:y:2006:i:1:p:87-114

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References

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  1. James M. Snyder, 1991. "On Buying Legislatures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 93-109, 07.
  2. Pablo T. Spiller, 2003. "The Institutional Foundations of Public Policy: A Transactions Approach with Application to Argentina," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 281-306, October.
  3. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
  4. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, . "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," Working Papers 100, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  5. Weingast, Barry R & Marshall, William J, 1988. "The Industrial Organization of Congress; or, Why Legislatures, Like Firms, Are Not Organized as Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 132-63, February.
  6. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  7. Octavio Amorim Neto, 1994. "Formação de gabinetes presidenciais no Brasil: coalizão versus cooptação," Nova Economia, Economics Department, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), vol. 4(1), pages 9-34, November.
  8. Spiller, Pablo T, 1996. "Institutions and Commitment," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 421-52.
  9. Kenneth Shepsle & Barry Weingast, 1981. "Structure-induced equilibrium and legislative choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 503-519, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lee J. Alston & Bernardo Mueller, 2007. "Legal Reserve Requirements in Brazilian Forests: Path Dependent Evolution of De Facto Legislation," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 8(4), pages 25_53.
  2. Bernardo Mueller & Lee Alston & Carlos Pereira & Marcus Melo, 2008. "The Choices Governors Make: The Roles of Checks and Balances and Political Competition," Anais do XXXVI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 36th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 200807181549410, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  3. Marcus Melo & Carlos Pereira & Saulo Souza, 2010. "The Political Economy of Fiscal Reform in Brazil: The Rationale for the Suboptimal Equilibrum," Research Department Publications 4655, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  4. Pablo T. Spiller & Sanny Liao, 2006. "Buy, Lobby or Sue: Interest Groups' Participation in Policy Making - A Selective Survey," NBER Working Papers 12209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Pereira, Carlos & Power, Timothy J. & Raile, Eric D., 2010. "The executive toolbox:building legislative support in a multiparty presidential regime," Textos para discussão 235, Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  6. Alston, Lee J. & Gallo, Andrés A., 2010. "Electoral fraud, the rise of Peron and demise of checks and balances in Argentina," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 179-197, April.
  7. Lee J. Alston & Bernardo Mueller, 2011. "Brazilian Development: This Time for Real?," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(1), pages 37-46, 03.
  8. Libman, Alexander Mikhailovich, 2009. "Эндогенные Границы И Распределение Власти В Федерациях И Международных Сообществах
    [ENDOGENOUS BOUNDARIES AND DISTRIBUTION O
    ," MPRA Paper 16473, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Mueller, Bernardo & Mueller, Charles, 2012. "The Impact of the 2007.08 Food Price Crisis in a Major Commodity Exporter: Food Prices, Inflation, and Inclusion in Brazil," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  10. Pereira, Carlos & Orellana, Salomon, 2010. "Hybrid Political Institutions And Governability:The Budgetary Process In Brazil," Textos para discussão 213, Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  11. Bernardo Mueller, 2011. "The Fiscal Imperativeand the Role of Public Prosecutors in Brazilian Environmental Policy," Anais do XXXVII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 37th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 184, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

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