Growth Volatility and Economic Growth in Brazil

23 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2017 Last revised: 13 Mar 2017

See all articles by Jorge Arbache

Jorge Arbache

University of Brasilia - Department of Economics

Sarquis J. B. Sarquis

LSE, Department of Economics

Date Written: February 28, 2017


One of the most puzzling evidences of Brazil’s economic performance is that, despite the country’s ability to grow at high rates, its long-term growth has been disappointing. Behind this deficient long-term outcome, Brazil shows a high growth volatility. It has experienced substantial growth booms and busts for international standards. These recurrent episodes suggest that the persistent non-realization of Brazil’s long-term growth potential and the mechanism by which growth has been systematically constrained are associated to the high volatility that the economy has exhibited over decades. The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of growth volatility and its impact on Brazil’s growth performance and long-term trajectory. We present and discuss some of the critical issues and main patterns of Brazil’s economic growth that are associated to growth volatility. Particular attention is given to its long-term underperformance, its macroeconomic regularities and possible causes and implications of its limited growth potential and degree of international convergence. It does so from a historical perspective and from an international perspective, as the case of Brazil is not only relevant per se, but also representative of many emerging economies, particularly in Latin America.

Keywords: growth volatility, productivity, economic development

JEL Classification: E00, E3, O1, O4

Suggested Citation

Arbache, Jorge and Sarquis, Sarquis J. B., Growth Volatility and Economic Growth in Brazil (February 28, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Jorge Arbache (Contact Author)

University of Brasilia - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Universitário Darcy Ribeiro
Asa Norte
Brasília, Distrito Federal 70910-900
+ 55 61 8194 4529 (Phone)

Sarquis J. B. Sarquis

LSE, Department of Economics ( email )

Flat 6, 112 Clarendon Rd
London, W11 1SA
United Kingdom

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