The tripod traps of Brazilian macroeconomic policy

Vol. 35 No. 3 (2015)

Jul-Sep / 2015
Published July 1, 2015
PDF-Portuguese (Português (Brasil))
PDF-Portuguese (Português (Brasil))

How to Cite

Nassif, André. 2015. “The Tripod Traps of Brazilian Macroeconomic Policy”. Brazilian Journal of Political Economy 35 (3):426-43.

The tripod traps of Brazilian macroeconomic policy

André Nassif
BNDES-Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social e UFF-Universidade Federal Fluminense.
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 35 No. 3 (2015), Jul-Sep / 2015, Pages 426-443


This paper analyses the so-called tripod of the Brazilian macroeconomic policy, which since 1999 has been combining an inflation target regime, a floating exchange rate regime and targets for primary fiscal surplus. I argue that, unless its modus operandi is changed, the tripod will not be able to free the Brazilian economy from another “possible trinity”: high real interest rates, real exchange rate appreciation and very low economic growth. After briefly analysing the theoretical base under the macroeconomic tripod, I will show why this macroeconomic policy regime, if it is evaluated in a medium or long-term perspective, has not been able to assure neither price stability nor economic growth. In addition to the suggestion of breaking with the Brazilian strategy of growing with foreign savings, the paper also suggests three main ways of changing the modus operandi of the Brazilian tripod: i) increase the time horizon for reaching the inflation target, as has been the experience of most countries that adopt this monetary policy regime; ii) restore the countercyclical role of the Brazilian fiscal policy; and iii) adopt a mix of instruments aiming at preventing the Brazilian currency from entering into a new cyclical trend of appreciation in real terms.

JEL Classification: E20; E31; E52; E62; F41.

Keywords: inflation target regime floating exchange rates regime fiscal primary surplus economic growth price stability Brazil