Pork for Policy: Executive and Legislative Exchange in Brazil

58 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2005

See all articles by Lee J. Alston

Lee J. Alston

Indiana University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Bernardo Mueller

Universidade de Brasilia

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper


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.

Keywords: Economic models of political processes, executive, legislatures, gains to trade

JEL Classification: D73, D72, D23

Suggested Citation

Alston, Lee J. and Mueller, Bernardo, Pork for Policy: Executive and Legislative Exchange in Brazil. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=681482

Lee J. Alston (Contact Author)

Indiana University ( email )

Wylie Hall
100 South Woodlawn
Bloomington, IN 47408–3895
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://economics.indiana.edu/about/faculty/alston-lee.html

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Bernardo Mueller

Universidade de Brasilia ( email )

Dept. de Economia
Universidade de Brasilia
Brasilia, DF 70910-900
55 61 981110349 (Phone)
55 61 3349-1303 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://bpmmueller.wixsite.com/bernardo-mueller

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