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Public-private relations in economic policy: Brazil's councils in a legal-institutionalist perspective

Grant number: 18/07448-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2018
Effective date (End): April 30, 2022
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Law - Public Law
Principal researcher:Diogo Rosenthal Coutinho
Grantee:Henrique Almeida de Castro
Home Institution: Faculdade de Direito (FD). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Interfaces allowing for deliberation between the bureaucracy and civil society in the formulation of economic policies have existed in numerous States. These institutions, here broadly labelled as "economic councils", have factored in diverse political contexts and included or excluded different social actors: their orientation has ranged from the dialogue between capital and workforce of corporatist and welfarist Europe to the coalition between bureaucracy and economic conglomerates of developmentalist Asia. This sort of arrangement has been a source warranted academic controversies: are councils better described as privileged and undemocratic channels of influence over the State or as complements to democratic institutions and to the State's capacity as an autonomous economic actor? In this PhD Thesis proposal, I argue that it is possible to further our understanding of the nature of economic councils and their significance (in terms of economic effectiveness and democratic legitimacy) through a legal-institutionalist approach. This is so because the answer to whether councils strengthen or weaken democracy hinges on the concrete conformation of their infinitely variable legal-institutional architectures. From this perspective, it becomes important to consider the formal rules that regulate such institutions (the 'law in books') and the causal mechanisms through which they are translated into effectively recognized and followed rules (which and not necessarily written - the 'law in action'). The proposal here advanced focuses on the Brazilian case, including both the country's historical trajectory and more recent experiences. The national case is especially interesting from a theoretical perspective since, starting with the Vargas Period, legal arrangements were repeatedly employed to structure economic councils and employer and worker organizations. Through empirical research methods, I intend to link this historical account to three recent exemplary cases: the Economic and Social Development Council, the National Industrial Policy Councils and SENAI's Deliberative Council. (AU)

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