Working Paper
Do Structural Reforms always Succeed?

Lessons from Brazil

In the last twenty years, Brazil has undergone several attempts of improving sustainable growth through stabilization programmes, and more recently, structural reforms in line with the Washington Consensus Agenda. The results, however, have been disappointing, as the per capita output growth has remained below its historic trend, and poverty and inequality remain at high levels. This paper investigates why market-oriented reforms such as trade and capital account liberalization, privatization, deregulation and stabilization failed to boost growth in Brazil. We conclude that structural reforms may contribute to growth if accompanied by microeconomic policies tailor-made to address the country’s needs, and by appropriate macroeconomic, institutional and political environments.