Economic Debates under Authoritarian Regimes: The Case of the Income Distribution Controversy in Brazil in the 1970s
Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University Working Paper Series 2019-12
31 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2019 Last revised: 20 Oct 2019
Date Written: July 15, 2019
The paper investigates the political and economic contexts of the controversy about the causes of the significant increase of income concentration in Brazil during the 1960s. That was the most important economic debate that took place under the military dictatorship that ran the country from 1964 to 1985. The perceived sharp increase in income inequality posed a challenge to the economic legitimation of the military regime, which had by the early 1970s achieved high rates of economic growth accompanied by falling inflation. We discuss the reasons behind the relatively open economic debate during a period of political repression, as well as its international dimension as reflected in the role played by institutions such as the World Bank.
Keywords: authoritarianism, income distribution, debate, censorship, Brazil
JEL Classification: B20, D30, N16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation