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Institutions and economic development in Brazil

Author

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  • Cavalcanti, Tiago V.
  • Magalhães, André M.
  • Tavares, José A.

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of institutional reforms in Brazil. It first provides a comparative assessment of the level of institutional development of Brazil with other Latin American countries such as Chile and Argentina. It considers institutional indicators on "doing private business", including those related to the start up costs, employment rigidity, the expropriation of private investment and bankruptcy law. In general, Brazil presents a lower level of institutional development than Chile and Argentina. As an example, the number of procedures to start a business in Brazil is roughly twice as large as in Chile. We evaluate the importance of institutional differences on economic development using data for a wide cross-section of countries. As in Acemoglu, Johnson, and Robinson [Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S., & Robinson, J. A. (2001). The colonial origins of comparative development: An empirical investigation. American Economic Review, 91(5), 1369-1398], we use the European mortality rate in the colonial period and the "legal origin" to exploit exogenous variation in the level of institutions. We identify issues where institutional reforms are likely to significantly affect per capita gross domestic product (GDP), the ratio of private credit to GDP and the ratio of investment to GDP. We then construct three indices developed in Tavares [Tavares, J. (2004). Institutions and economic growth in Portugal: a quantitative exploration. Portuguese Economic Journal, 3, 49-79] that measure the potential of institutional reforms by using institutional distance, in our case between Brazil and Chile. The most promising reforms for the Brazilian economy, as far as their effects on output per capita, are, in decreasing order: (i) reducing the number of procedures to open a business; (ii) decreasing the average time involved in insolvency proceedings; (iii) increasing labor market flexibility; and (iv) increase effective creditor's protection.

Suggested Citation

  • Cavalcanti, Tiago V. & Magalhães, André M. & Tavares, José A., 2008. "Institutions and economic development in Brazil," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 412-432, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:quaeco:v:48:y:2008:i:2:p:412-432
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    2. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "The Regulation of Entry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 1-37.
    3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    4. Tiago V. de V. Cavalcanti & Álvaro A. Novo, 2005. "Institutions and economic development: How strong is the relation?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 263-276, September.
    5. Juan C. Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "The Regulation of Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1339-1382.
    6. Araújo, Aloísio Pessoa de & Funchal, Bruno, 2005. "Past and future of the bankruptcy law in Brazil and Latin America," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 599, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    7. repec:hrv:faseco:30747190 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2005. "Unbundling Institutions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 949-995, October.
    9. Kenneth L. Sokoloff & Stanley L. Engerman, 2000. "Institutions, Factor Endowments, and Paths of Development in the New World," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 217-232, Summer.
    10. Antunes, António & Cavalcanti, Tiago & Villamil, Anne, 2008. "The effect of financial repression and enforcement on entrepreneurship and economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 278-297, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paulo Júlio & Ricardo Pinheiro-Alves & José Tavares, 2013. "Foreign investment and institutional reform: Portugal in European perspective," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    2. Feng Wei & Yu Kong, 2014. "Government Governance, Legal Environment and Sustainable Economic Development," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(4), pages 1-16, April.
    3. Saes, Alexandre Macchione & Loureiro, Felipe Pereira, 2014. "What developing countries' past energy policies can tell us about energy issues today? Lessons from the expropriation of American Foreign and Power in Brazil (1959–1965)," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 36-43.
    4. Paulo Júlio & Ricardo Pinheiro–Alves & José Tavares, 2013. "Foreign direct investment and institutional reform: evidence and an application to Portugal," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer;Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestao, vol. 12(3), pages 215-250, December.
    5. Djankov, Simeon, 2008. "The Regulation of Entry: A Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 7080, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Evans Stephen Osabuohien & Uchenna Rapuluchukwu Efobi, 2013. "Africa's Money in Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 81(2), pages 292-306, June.

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