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Pork for Policy: Executive and Legislative Exchange in Brazil

  • Lee J. Alston
  • Bernardo Mueller

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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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11273.pdf
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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
Note: IFM POL
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  1. 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.
  2. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gerard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202, November.
  3. James M. Snyder, 1991. "On Buying Legislatures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 93-109, 07.
  4. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, . "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Working Papers 121, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  5. 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.
  6. Kenneth Shepsle & Barry Weingast, 1981. "Structure-induced equilibrium and legislative choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 503-519, January.
  7. Spiller, Pablo T, 1996. "Institutions and Commitment," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 421-52.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
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