NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Pork for Policy: Executive and Legislative Exchange in Brazil

Lee J. Alston, Bernardo Mueller

NBER Working Paper No. 11273
Issued in April 2005
NBER Program(s):   IFM   POL

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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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11273

Published: 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. citation courtesy of

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