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Brazil in TransitionBeliefs, Leadership, and Institutional Change$
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Lee J. Alston, Marcus André Melo, Bernardo Mueller, and Carlos Pereira

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691162911

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691162911.001.0001

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Cardoso Seizes a Window of Opportunity (1993–2002)

Cardoso Seizes a Window of Opportunity (1993–2002)

(p.97) Chapter 5 Cardoso Seizes a Window of Opportunity (1993–2002)
Brazil in Transition

Lee J. Alston

Marcus André Melo

Bernardo Mueller

Carlos Pereira

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines Cardoso's presidency, arguing that his leadership was not solely top-down; rather, the Cardoso team coordinated other organizations and citizens to buy into the Plano Real. It argues that, first, Brazil entered into a virtuous path toward a critical transition, which was not inevitable. Second, to quell inflation entailed up-front costs and coordination problems that required leadership, which the Brazilians resolved by maintaining that social inclusion would still be given priority as long as it was fiscally sound. Third, new economic and political actors developed a stake in the reform process and formed a constituency that did not exist before: firms redeployed their assets in new profitable ways (as opposed to rent seeking) and politicians increasingly voted for public goods.

Keywords:   Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Plano Real, inflation, reform process, public goods, critical transition, social inclusion

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