Cornel Ban

Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, Boston University

Brazil’s Liberal Neo-Developmentalism is an interesting answer to the crisis of the Washington Consensus


My 2012 piece in Review of International Political Economy:

Is Brazil’s economic policy regime a mere tinkering of the Washington Consensus? The evidence suggests that Brazilian governments institutionalized a hybrid policy regime that layers economically liberal priorities originating in the Washington Consensus and more interventionist ones associated with neo-developmentalist thinking.

To capture this hybridity, the study calls this regime ‘liberal neo-developmentalism’. While defending the goal of macroeconomic stability and sidelining full employment, Brazilian governments also reduced reliance on foreign savings and employed a largely off-the-books stimulus package during the crisis. Brazil experienced important privatization, liberalization and deregulation reforms, but at the same time the state consolidated its role as owner and investor in industry and banking while using an open economy industrial policy and a cautious approach to the free movement of capital. Finally, while conditional cash transfers fit the Washington Consensus, Brazil’s steady increases in the minimum wage, industrial policies targeted at high employment sectors and the use of state-owned firms to expand welfare and employment programs better fit a neo-developmentalist policy regime.

In sum, while the main goals of the Washington Consensus were not replaced with neo-developmentalist ones, Brazil’s policy regime saw an extensive transformation of policy orthodoxy that reflects Brazil’s status as an emerging power.

The full text is here

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