Between Law, Technocracy and Politics: Is Brazilian State-Society Learning to Fight Corruption?

4 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2018 Last revised: 11 Dec 2018

Date Written: September 18, 2018


Many countries have dormant anticorruption systems, which could be activated by accountability pressures. The problem identified in the literature is that reforms are implemented and undermined amidst a power struggle. Brazil has been in this kind of a perverse equilibrium. The anticorruption system was no match for actors, institutions and processes that sustain this equilibrium. This may be changing. This paper argues coproducing anticorruption has gradually become an important strategic pillar to muster power, legal authority and technical expertise to destabilize Brazil’s perverse equilibrium. The strategy emerged as actors learned by doing with others across levels of government. A theoretical framework is presented, building on the World Development Report 2017. The field research was conducted in 2017. The entry point is the control system of the state of Parana, epicenter of Operation Car Wash. Its links to the Federal level are traced in three phases: Groundwork & Foundations (2005-2013); Experimentation & Development (2013-2015); Uncertain Scale Up (2015 to the present).

Keywords: Coproducing Anticorruption; Corruption; Brazil; State-Society Learning; Participation; Governance; Lava Jato

Suggested Citation

Guerzovich, Maria F. and Chies Schommer, Paula and Oliveira Menezes, Elaine Cristina, Between Law, Technocracy and Politics: Is Brazilian State-Society Learning to Fight Corruption? (September 18, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Paula Chies Schommer

Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina (UDESC) ( email )


Elaine Cristina Oliveira Menezes

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

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