Policies Make Politicians: Intermediaries, State Benefits, and Political Entrepreneurship in Brazil
Norwegian Institute of Urban and Regional Research
October 10, 2018 12:00PM E53-482, Millikan Room
WHO: Yuri Kasahara, senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Urban and Regional Research (Oslo Metropolitan University). Currently he is leading a project about the political impacts of anti-drought policies in the Brazilian Northeast.
WHAT: Policies Make Politicians: Intermediaries, State Benefits, and Political Entrepreneurship in Brazil
The idea that policies make politics is a well-established notion in political science. The opposite dynamic - low-level administrators, responsible for implementing policies, becoming politicians - is, on the other hand, an understudied phenomena. In this paper, we look at the evolution of policies targeting small farmers in the Brazilian northeast region to argue that administrators responsible for their implementation can leverage their bureaucratic discretion into political careers. By using a original dataset combining information on issuers of the Declaração de Aptidão ao PRONAF (DAP) from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Labor and Employment with electoral data , we show that individual issuing DAPs are more propensed to become candidates, win votes and be elected along the time. Moreover, they participate in elections at higher rates than other policy administrators. While electoral politics in newly established democracies are often captured by traditional allegiances based on religion, ethnicity or socio-economic inequality, the increasing widespread adoption of means-tested social policies might represent a new source of political capital and brokerage. For the particular case of Brazil, our findings contribute to a new interpretation of how local politics operate in rural areas such as the countryside of the Northeast region.