Vol. 25 No. 3 (2005): Jul-Sep / 2005

Vol. 25 No. 3 (2005)

Jul-Sep / 2005
Published July 1, 2005


An interpretation of Brazil’s growth deceleration
Edmar Lisboa Bacha, Regis Bonelli
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy

The paper aims at explaining why Brazil’s GDP growth plunged after 1980. Brazil’s GDP grew at 7% yearly from 1940 to 1980 but at only 2.5% per year since then. Increases in the relative price of investment that reduced the purchasing power of savings, associated to declines in the productivity of capital, seem to have been the most important factors behind the observed loss of dynamism. The tentative conclusion is that inward-oriented economic policies since the 1970s and, perhaps, even as early as the 1950s, had negative long-run growth implications that were aggravated by populist policies in the early years of the post-1984 redemocratization.

JEL Classification: 047; 054.

Import substitution in Brazil between 1995 and 2000
Ana Maria de Paiva Franco, Renato Baumann
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy

This work estimates the import substitution process in Brazilian industrial sectors in a recent period and evaluates whether it is occurring naturally or is in part induced by some kind of external commercial policy. An index to measure import substitution was calculated for forty nine sectors of industry. A regression analysis with this index against effective tariffs and real effective exchange rate, during the period 1995-2000, shows that these variables (effective tariffs and real effective exchange rates) did affect the substitution index. From 1999 on, the influence of the exchange rate over the import substitution index was greater than the influence of the effective tariff, suggesting that the process of import substitution post the Brazilian currency depreciation occurred in 1999 contains elements that characterizes it as a "natural" process.

JEL Classification: F13; F14.

The debt crisis: a re-appraisal
Carlos Alberto Cinquetti
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy

The 1980s’ debt crisis is a landmark in developing economies’ growth and stabilization. According to the most quoted empirical articles, external shocks and vicissitudes gave rise to crisis just because of delays in stabilization policies, engendered by internal conflicts and institutional immaturity. I review some of these papers, and find out some problems – in the measurement of shocks and foreign indebtedness, namely - whose corrections lead to opposite results: external shocks and foreign indebtedness explain that crisis regardless of domestic policies. At the same time, the strong correlation of income distribution to terms of trade changes and foreign indebtedness suggest that inequality may have contributed differently to that crisis: either through an economic channel, or through a political channel based on delays in reforms.

JEL Classification: F34; F42; E61; 011; 057.

The dollar and the global disequilibria
Luiz Gonzaga Belluzzo
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy

The global expansion of capitalism under American hegemony in the second half of the 20th century has changed the international division of labor and center-periphery scheme proposed under British hegemony. Under the new international division of labor, the United States is forced to generate an ever growing deficit in their trade account in order to accommodate the “mercantilist’ expansion of Asian countries, produced by the trans-nationalization of big capital, under American aegis. This form of global economic articulation is at the root of the rupture of the Bretton Woods system and the growing financial liberalization imposed by the hegemonic power over other countries since the 80s.

JEL Classification: E6; F02; F4.

Changes in times of globalization: is capitalism not progressive any more?
José Ricardo Tauile, Luiz Augusto Estrella Faria
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy

Technical progress and economic development are promotions of capitalism, says a well known idea hereby contradicted. Recent changes under neoliberalism show that the more freedom of move to capital the less development of productive forces. There was no synchronicity and coherence fostering economic growth between changes at the micro level of techno-productive and managerial innovations and the ones at the macro level of institutional structures and economic policy. Empowerment of finance capital and monopolies got them opportunity to control the state and set its economic policy to support fictitious capital accumulation and to rule restructuring of corporate management. Surplus redistribution favoring finance capital is a burden to be carried on the back of society’s productive structures, lowering investment, employment and growth. Focusing Latin America and Brazil, the same picture is seen, worsened by external fragility that deepens historical dependency.

JEL Classification: P17; O49; B15.

What is the value of self-interest?
Celia Lessa Kerstenetzky
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy

The article critically reviews past and current justifications for the theoretical use of the behavioral assumption of self-interest, explanatory, normative, representational and critical, focusing on the critical function. This latter emerges from an incursion into the modern history of ideas and may be shown still to fertilize a number of contemporary economic approaches.

JEL Classification: B12; B21; B41; B52.

Historicity, Entropy and No Linearity Some Applications to Economic Science.
Alain Herscovici
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy

 The objective of this paper is to definite Historicity in Economic Sciences applying the principles of Entropy and methodological indeterminism. This implies the definition of two kinds of economic universes: one characterized by ergodicity and reversibility of Time and processes and the other by the opposite properties. The first part will deal with the construction of the subject of study and the nature of the proper analysis to these two universes. Taking such dichotomy into account, the second part will examine its implications as regards to the nature of equilibrium, the properties of stability and instability and the closure of the systems.

JEL Classification: B4.

Inter-jurisdictional fiscal competition a review of the literature and policy recommendations
Sergio Guimarães Ferreira, Ricardo Varsano, José Roberto Afonso
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy

This paper surveys the literature on fiscal competition. We consider tax and expenditure competition in a more general set up where different jurisdictions within a federation may compete in the provision of public goods in order to attract some residents (Tiebout (1956)) and expel others (Brueckner (1999); and/or for business. We address the vast literature on welfare gains or losses of these types of competition. Then, we discuss the empirical evidence, focusing on estimates of the sensitiveness of production factors to tax differentials and on the importance of the strategic interdependence among jurisdictions. We combine econometric studies with some case studies. Last we discuss the design of mechanisms to cope with fiscal competition, especially under a more global environment where factors become more mobile.

JEL Classification: H77; H73; F2.