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Intergovernmental lobby in Brazil: national associations of municipalities and their role as interest groups with the federal government

Abstract

The subject of research is the intergovernmental lobby from subnational governments, which is a common field of studies in the United States, Canadian and Europe. The literature on the subject has three dominant approaches: institutional constraints (tactics and strategies employed are influenced by the institutional locus where it is carried out and the types of policies demanded), external constraints (political and economic environment) and political-organizational constraints (characteristics of municipalities associated). The initial reference to these analytical views is important because the expected results of the research will be explained in the light of their theoretical formulations. It is this theoretical approach that bases the objectives and hypotheses of the research. The analysis object is the three national associations of Brazilian municipalities (Brazilian Association of Municipalities, National Front of Mayors, and National Confederation of Municipalities) and how to act in the sphere of the federal government. The research question is: how it was organized and what factors influenced the intergovernmental lobby and policy portfolio demanded by the national associations of municipalities with the federal government between 2001 and 2018? In the end, the research seeks as a theoretical-empirical result to confirm the following hypotheses derived from the literature: 1. The existence of an institutionalized locus in the federal government channels and shapes the way the municipal intergovernmental lobby is carried out. The populate and socioeconomic heterogeneity of the municipalities influences the content of the lobby and about which federal entity is responsible for the demands. 3. The coincidence between the lobbying priorities defined by the political directions of the associations and the municipalities depends on the degree of heterogeneity of the localities. 4. The content of the intergovernmental lobby is influenced by the political and economic context in which the municipalities are inserted and not by the political profile of the federal government. The research uses qualitative methods (interviews, documental analysis, and magazines and newspaper files) and quantitative (survey with municipalities and descriptive statistics about the demographic and socioeconomic profile of cities). With these methods, the study seeks to overcome three scientific challenges. The first concerns the use of a theoretical framework not yet tested in research on intergovernmental lobbying. Although Brazil is a federal country, the constitutional rules on the status and role of municipalities differ from that in the American and Canadian cases. The second is that, although the proposed research methods and techniques are common in scholarly works, they will be applied for the first time to political actors as yet little studied, as is the case of municipal associations. The third challenge is of an empirical nature and is related to the existence of the documentary basis available in the ABM, CNM, and FNP on its intergovernmental lobby actions during the period of the research. To research municipal associations as political actors and their performing with the federal government is a field of investigation still inexistent in Brazil. The investigation contributes to the studies of intergovernmental relations un Brazil in proposing a subject, object of analysis and an innovative theoretical approach in political science and public administration researches. (AU)

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