Regulatory Policy and the Brazilian Presidential Election

Editor’s Note: The CRE Brazil website is available in English and Portuguese.

From: RegBlog/University of Pennsylvania

After Sunday’s first-round election in Brazil, the two finalists for the nation’s presidency present the country with two rather distinct approaches to regulation. When the election moves to its second round on October 26th, Brazilians will either choose to keep the moderate-left Dilma Rousseff for another four-year term or they will select Aécio Neves as the nation’s new center-right President. The competing interest groups and political parties that now support either Aécio Neves or Dilma Rousseff generally align themselves across the contemporary divide over regulation in Brazil.\

As with most Latin American countries, Brazil has been actively using regulation and regulatory institutions as policy instruments over the last two and a half decades. The world’s fifth-most-populous country and seventh-largest economy has adopted much of the machinery of a modern regulatory state, joining with much larger international trends in regulation.

For example, a report released in 2008 by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on Brazil’s regulatory governance capacities lauded the country for its steps to modernize its regulatory infrastructure, even at the same time as it called for further reforms of Brazilian regulatory institutions. The OECD report has helped guide Brazil’s most important governmental initiative of regulatory quality improvement, its Program for Strengthening the Institutional Capacity for Regulatory Management (PRO-REG).

Nevertheless, some of the most internationally trumpeted regulatory “best practices,” such as Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) and centralized oversight, to name just two, have been examined only by selective agencies and tested in pilot projects with limited reach. This may be partly explained by implementation problems, although the predominant language used to promote regulatory innovation around the world – with its emphasis on efficiency and burden reduction – is not easy to square with renewed State activism, which has also regained momentum in Brazil in the last decade.

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