Pork for Policy: Executive and Legislative Exchange in Brazil

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by E.J. Alston

E.J. Alston

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Bernardo Mueller

Universidade de Brasilia


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 its 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 branches benefit by exploiting the gains from trade.

Suggested Citation

Alston, E.J. and Mueller, Bernardo, Pork for Policy: Executive and Legislative Exchange in Brazil. Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 87-114, 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=915492

E.J. Alston

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Bernardo Mueller (Contact Author)

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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