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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 their 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 benefit by exploiting the gains from trade.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11273.

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Date of creation: Apr 2005
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Publication status: published as Alston, Lee J. and Bernardo Mueller. "Pork For Policy: Executive and Legislative Exchange In Brazil," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, 2006, v22(1,Apr), 87-114.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11273

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  1. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Papers, Stockholm - International Economic Studies 630, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  2. Octavio Amorim Neto, 1994. "Formação de gabinetes presidenciais no Brasil: coalizão versus cooptação," Nova Economia, Economics Department, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), Economics Department, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), vol. 4(1), pages 9-34, November.
  3. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gerard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202, November.
  4. Spiller, Pablo T, 1996. "Institutions and Commitment," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 421-52.
  5. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  6. Kenneth Shepsle & Barry Weingast, 1981. "Structure-induced equilibrium and legislative choice," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 503-519, January.
  7. 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, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 132-63, February.
  8. Mariano Tommasi & Pablo T. Spiller, 2000. "The Institutional Foundations of Public Policy: A Transactions Approach with Application to Argentina," Working Papers, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia 29, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised May 2000.
  9. James M. Snyder, 1991. "On Buying Legislatures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 93-109, 07.
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Cited by:
  1. 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, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  2. Lee J. Alston & Bernardo Mueller, 2011. "Brazilian Development: This Time for Real?," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(1), pages 37-46, 03.
  3. 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], ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 8(4), pages 25_53.
  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 & 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).
  6. 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).
  7. Lee J. Alston & Andrés A. Gallo, 2009. "Electoral Fraud, the Rise of Peron and Demise of Checks and Balances in Argentina," NBER Working Papers 15209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Marcus André Melo & Carlos Pereira & Saulo Souza, 2010. "The Political Economy of Fiscal Reform in Brazil: The Rationale for the Suboptimal Equilibrum," IDB Publications 6784, Inter-American Development Bank.
  9. 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], ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of G 200807181549410, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  10. 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.
  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], ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of 184, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

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