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Brazil’s Enormous Interest Rate Tax: Can Brazilians Afford It?

Author

Listed:
  • Mark Weisbrot
  • Jake Johnston
  • Julia Villarruel Carrillo

Abstract

This paper looks at Brazil’s unusually high interest rates. Brazil has the fourth-highest interest burden in the world on its federal debt (out of a total of 183 countries). The paper finds that this is not a result of known risk factors, but rather is due to unusually high interest rates set by the Central Bank — Brazil’s policy interest rates have also been among the highest in the world — and to the market and political power of a highly concentrated banking sector. The authors warn that unless Brazil corrects its monetary policy, it could contribute to another severe, long-term growth failure comparable to the experience of 1980–2003. During that time, per capita GDP growth averaged about 0.2 percent per year.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Weisbrot & Jake Johnston & Julia Villarruel Carrillo, 2016. "Brazil’s Enormous Interest Rate Tax: Can Brazilians Afford It?," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2016-22, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
  • Handle: RePEc:epo:papers:2016-22
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • F - International Economics
    • H - Public Economics
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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