Liberal versus neo-developmental convention to growth: why has Brazil shown a poor performance since the 1980s?
The main goal of our paper is to provide analytical arguments to explain why Brazil has not been able to restore its long-term capacity for economic growth, especially compared with its economy in the 1950-1979 period (7.3 per cent per year on average) or even with a number of emerging economies in the 1980-2010 period (6.7 per cent per year on average, against 2.3 per cent per year on average in Brazil in the same period). We build our idea of convention to growth based on the Keynesian concept of convention. For our purposes, this concept could be briefly summarized as the way in which the set of public and private economic decisions related to different objectives, such as how much to produce and invest, how much to charge for products and services, how to finance public and private debt, how to finance research and development, and so on, are indefinitely – or at least until there is no change – carried out by the political, economic and social institutions. This analytical reference can be connected to the Neo-Schumpeterian National Innovation System (NIS) concept, which emphasizes not only institutions associated with science and technology per se, but also the complex interaction among them and other institutions. In this paper we identify two conventions to long-term growth in the last three decades in Brazil: the liberal and the neo-developmental. We show that the poor performance in the Brazilian economy in terms of real GDP growth from the 1980s on can be explained by a weak coordination between short-term macroeconomic policies and long-term industrial and technological policies. This weak coordination, in turn, can be associated with the prevalence of the liberal convention from the 1990s on, which has emphasized price stabilization to the detriment of a neo-developmental strategy whose primary goal is to sustain higher rates of growth and full employment in Brazil.
JEL Classification: 01; 02; 05.
Keywords: convention National Innovation System macroeconomic policy Brazil