[Home] [Current Tables of Contents]

[ HLAS Online Home Page | Search HLAS Online | Help | FAQ | Comments ]


Volume 63 / Social Sciences

ECONOMICS: BRAZIL

RUSSEL E. SMITH, Professor and Associate Dean, School of Business, Washburn University
MELISSA H. BIRCH, Associate Professor and Director, Center for International Business Educations and Research, University of Kansas

BRAZIL'S GROWING EXPOSURE TO THE GLOBAL ECONOMY is much in evidence in the body of literature reviewed for this edition. Gone, for the most part, are the studies of inflation, stabilization measures, foreign debt, and import-substitution industrialization. Instead, economists have turned their attention to a careful examination of open-economy issues including export performance, industrial structure, and firm competitiveness, as well as the role of the state in the economy, labor market institutions, and wage and employment outcomes. While macroeconomic studies included here take a more retrospective view of past policy debates and associated performance, they do it with an eye to identifying policy measures that will be more successful in the new international context. Such studies include those by Bacha and Bonelli (item #bi2004003149#), Pereira (item #bi2004002563#), and Carneiro (item #bi2006002395#), which provide long views over many decades of policy, as well as more specific studies of the 1990s (item #bi2006002390#). Development banks and their role in Brazilian growth are not ignored (items #bi2004003037# and #bi2006000737#). The government's official version of the accomplishments of the "Real Era" that began in 1994 documents the success of stabilization program at the national (item #bi2004002985#) and state (item #bi2006000738#) levels.

The current conundrum for economists is the stagnation that has accompanied the successful stabilization program and the question of what should be the post-reform policy agenda (items #bi2003005728# and #bi2005002441#), with special attention to the problems of rural poverty (item #bi2004002992#). A series of studies of the role of savings, investment, and foreign capital flows (items #bi2004002983# and #bi2004003103#) follow traditional economic models and methodologies. These studies also provide the foundation for further analysis at the industry (item #bi2006002399#) and firm level.

Nowhere is Brazil's new openness more evident than in the growing literature on exports. Studies reviewed here examine export performance, the impact of reforms on the volume and composition of exports, and the special challenges that Brazilian firms face when exporting (item #bi2004002991#). Perhaps most novel are the studies of nontraditional exports from the Northeast which examine the role of technology (item #bi2004003945#) and new demand for fair trade and health products (items #bi2005002231#, #bi2005002232#, #bi2006002383#, and #bi2005000608#) on volume of sales and income distribution.

Competitiveness of Brazilian industries and the policies that promote it (items #bi2005002234#, #bi2004003974#, and #bi2004001632#) have increasingly been studied, as has the impact of internationalization on business in Brazil (item #bi2006002387#). The growing literature on business and industry includes studies of the competitiveness of entire industries in Brazil, including telecommunications (item #bi2004002317#), banking (item #bi2004001651#), meat production (item #bi2004002972#), and the tumultuous aviation sector (item #bi2005002164#), as well as those studies that focus on the impact of various macroeconomic reforms on certain product lines or regional economies (item #bi2005000197#). Interesting work is being done that focuses on plant-level activity (items #bi2004003948# and #bi2005002482#). The role of investment, and in particular investment in information technology (item #bi2004002562#), in establishing competitive industries (item #bi2003005740#) is well studied. Privatization seems to be a thing of the past, perhaps explaining the growth in studies of private sector industries and firms.

Openness goes both ways and new import patterns are changing the face of domestic industry (item #bi2003005738#) as well. Perhaps this explains a growing literature on Brazilian business practices. From retrospective looks at entrepreneurship and family business in Brazil (item #bi2006000729#) to studies of strategic alliances (item #bi2005002165#) and the development of capital markets (item #bi2004002975#), there is a greater interest in the ways in which businesses and business practices shape the Brazilian economy in the global era. The subject of foreign markets and regional integration is also examined.

There are several very good studies of the effect of Mercosul, NAFTA, and the EU on Brazilian exports (items #bi2004003114#, #bi2004002700#, #bi2005000637#, and #bi2004001657#), and a careful examination of antidumping policies (item #bi2004003128#). The export studies reveal the importance of scale (item #bi2003005721#), technological innovation (item #bi2003005749#), and industry concentration (item #bi2004003137#) in determining export performance.

With the opening of the economy to both increased exports and imports came a reallocation of production and employment within the Brazilian economy. Employment shifts at the national level (items #bi2004001637#, #bi2004003158#, and #bi2003005748#) and between the formal and informal sectors (item #bi2004003127#) are studied, as is restructuring at the firm level (item #bi2005000197#). Labor market institutions and wage and employment performance are analyzed in depth (items #bi2006000731#, #bi2006000730#, #bi2006002394#, and #bi2006002392#). Wage structures under conditions of economic turbulence (item #bi2004002784#) and more recently (item #bi2006002388#) have attracted attention. Poverty across Brazil is a continuing concern (items #bi2004002992# and #bi2004002320#). Increased attention to the private sector does not mean that economists have ignored the public sector. Attention has turned to more traditional public finance topics including government spending and taxes. Studies of public sector spending include models that forecast spending and debt levels (item #bi2004003115#), as well as ones that focus on the public budgeting process (item #bi2006000732#) and social spending (item #bi2004003116#). On the tax side, attention to tax reform seems to be growing. Studies range from models of optimal commodity taxes (items #bi2005002469# and #bi2004003943#) to empirical work on the impact of tax exemptions on exports and regional economies (item #bi2004003124#). Fiscal federalism in Brazil (item #bi2006000734#) has been compared with international experiences in an attempt to provide some workable models for Mercosul. There is continuing concern with Brazil's public pension and social welfare system and the level of social expenditures (items #bi2004003116#, #bi2004003949#, and #bi2005001890#).


Go to the:


Begin a Basic Search | Begin an Expert Search

[ HLAS Online Home Page | Search HLAS Online | Help | FAQ | Comments ]

Library of Congress
Comments: Ask a Librarian (7/10/14)