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"Never Before in the History of This Country?": The Rise of Presidential Power in the Lula Da Silva and Rousseff Administrations (2003-2016)

Abstract

After the impeachment of President Collor de Mello (1990-1992), Brazil finally managed to devise and implement an economic plan that, firmly based on economic science, eradicated the country's long-standing hyperinflation. In the following Cardoso Administration (1995-2002), new regulatory frameworks were introduced in several different sectors—the implementation and oversight of which were entrusted to Regulatory Agencies relatively insulated from the Presidency. Such a model, however, came under attack under the Lula da Silva (2003-2010) and Rousseff (2011-2016) Administrations, ultimately leading to high levels of inflation, a severe recession, and the escalation of public deficit. This article indicates how, during the Lula da Silva and Rousseff Administrations, the Presidency amassed more power over the federal bureaucracy—allowing political expediency to prevail over technical analyses and independent bodies.

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