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A Longa Constituinte: Reforma do Estado e Fluidez Institucional no Brasil

Author(s): Couto Cláudio Gonçalves

Journal: Dados - Revista de Ciências Sociais
ISSN 0011-5258

Volume: 41;
Issue: 1;
Date: 1998;
Original page

Keywords: state reform | political institutions | transition | decision-making process | government

The article discusses the process of political and economic transition in Brazil since the close of the Constitutional Congress. Addressing the question from an institutionalist perspective, it is argued that these two dimensions of the transition are not the only ones which should be considered in conjunction; a series of other factors must be taken into account as well. First is the question of the sequential chain within the transition process: policies enacted at a given moment depend upon circumstances generated earlier, both in content and in form, creating a relation of path-dependence. Second, this constraint holds greater sway during a transition period, given the fluid conditions under which politics are played out: the political climate and institutions change over time. Third, the actors go through a process of institutional learning, which means the same institutional structures are not operated in the same fashion at different moments. It is necessary to devise a dynamic model for analyzing Brazil's political system during this period. More valuable than any static model would be an analysis of the process which takes into account the intermixing of different political agendas (simultaneously and sequentially), institutional fluidity, and environmental transformations.
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