The federalism in Brazil: a ‘state of arts’ of theory

Vol. 17 No. 1 (1997)

Jan-Mar / 1997
Published January 1, 1997
PDF-Portuguese (Português (Brasil))
PDF-Portuguese (Português (Brasil))

How to Cite

Aguirre, Basilia Maria Baptista, and Marcos Ribeiro de Moraes. 1997. “The Federalism in Brazil: A ‘state of arts’ of Theory”. Brazilian Journal of Political Economy 17 (1):131-47.

The federalism in Brazil: a ‘state of arts’ of theory

Basilia Maria Baptista Aguirre
Professora da Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade da Universidade de São Paulo – FEA-USP, São Paulo/SP, Brasil.
Marcos Ribeiro de Moraes
Doutorando do Curso de Pós-Graduação do Instituto de Pesquisas Econômicas da Universidade de São Paulo – USP, São Paulo/SP, Brasil.
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 17 No. 1 (1997), Jan-Mar / 1997, Pages 131-147


The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how important is to build up a
theoretical framework to properly grasp the meaning of the federalism issue in Brazil. Firstly,
we make a survey of the main theories approaching the federalism subject in order to
analyze whether they fit or not in the Brazilian case. Focusing then on the recent literature
about Brazilian federalism, we show how its lack of analytical perspective fails to explain
the interactions between the different levels of governments occurred in the last decades. For
this reason, we propose a line of research adjusted to the Brazilian federalism issue, which
must take into account not only the specific political environment existing in that country,
but also the rationality of the institutions and social organized groups involved in that federative

JEL Classification: H11; H50; B49.

Keywords: Federalism public choice fiscal federalism political economy public expenditure structure economic methodology