Working Paper
The Rise and Halt of Economic Development in Brazil, 1945-2004

Industrial Catching-up, Institutional Innovation and Financial Fragility

This paper seeks to explain the dynamics of Brazilian industrial catch-up in the last 60 years by discussing its background institutional conditions as well as its main macroeconomic features. After a brief introduction, the second section describes how after the institutional innovations introduced during the Vargas’ and Kubitschek’s administrations, a Brazilian version of the Developmental State was created, releasing the growth potential of the economy during the 1950s. The third section analyses the inflationary crisis and institutional inertia of the mid-1960s, and its solution through the introduction of a new of wave of institutional innovations and conflict management devices, which lead to the Brazilian growth miracle, until the debt crisis of early 1980s signaled its end. The fourth section analyses why the financial crisis, coupled with ineffective institutional changes and unsuccessful macroeconomic stabilization plans lead growth to a halt. It also includes an analysis of the pro-market reforms from the early 1990s onwards. The fifth section concludes the paper offering a brief sketch on how the analytical narrative fits the conceptual framework within which it was performed.