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Political Power, Elite Control, and Long-Run Development: Evidence from Brazil

Claudio Ferraz (), Federico Finan () and Monica Maretinez-Bravo ()
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Claudio Ferraz: University of British Columbia,
Federico Finan: UC-Berkeley,
Monica Maretinez-Bravo: CEMFI, Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros,

Working Papers from CEMFI

Abstract: This paper analyzes how changes in the concentration of political power affect long-run development. We study Brazil’s military dictatorship whose rise to power dramatically altered the distribution of power of local political elites. We document that municipalities that were more politically concentrated prior to the dictatorship in the 1960s are relatively richer in 2000, despite being poorer initially. Our evidence suggests that this reversal of fortune was the result of the military’s policies aimed at undermining the power of traditional elites. These policies increased political competition locally, which ultimately led to better governance, more provision of public goods, and higher income levels.

Keywords: Political power; elites; regime transition; economic development. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 N46 O43 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gro, nep-his, nep-lam and nep-pol
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