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Catching up and Falling behind: An Appraisal of Brazilian Industrial Policy in the Twenty-First Century


Yuri Kasahara ,

NIBR, Oslo and Akershus University of Applied Sciences, NO
About Yuri

Yuri Kasahara <> is Senior Researcher in the Department of International Studies and Migration at the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research. The main focus of his research has been on State-business relations in Latin America and its impacts on political and economic development. Recently, he published the book Business Groups and Transnational Capitalism in Central America, co-authored with Benedicte Bull and Fulvio Castellacci (Palgrave, 2014); and the book chapter Brazil, land of future? Conservative development strategy and the urban challenge, co-authored with Einar Braathen (Routledge, 2015).

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Antonio José Junqueira Botelho

Candido Mendes University, Rio de Janeiro, BR
About Antonio José

Antonio José Junqueira Botelho <> is Full Professor and Assistant Director in the Graduate Program of Political Sociology at the University Research Institute of Rio de Janeiro (IUPERJ), Candido Mendes University. His current research interests are in comparative political economy, in particular innovation and varieties of capitalism; the nature and impact of ICT in developing economies; and the internationalization of science, technology and innovation. His recent publications are ‘Desconstruindo a política científica no Brasil: Evolução da descentralização da política de apoio a pesquisa e inovação’ (Sociedade e Estado, 2012); and the book chapters, ‘Research and Knowledge Production in the Private Sector. The Brazilian Experience’ (authored with Elizabeth Balbachevsky) in G. Gregorutti & J. E. Delgado (Eds.), Private Universities in Latin America. Research and Innovation in the Knowledge Economy (Palgrave, 2015); and ‘As lacunas de inovação em saúde no Brasil: entre a produção de ciência e a tecnologia na saúde’ (CEPESC-IMS/UERJ-FIOCRUZ, 2015)

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Amidst analyses of industrial policy’s renaissance in Latin America, Brazil is often hailed as the paragon of this movement. The mix of old and new institutions and instruments would constitute a unique effort in promoting industrial development in the post-neoliberal period. However, this experience has been followed by middling results of industrial performance. Reviewing an emerging literature about the institutionalization and results of the Brazilian industrial policy, we argue that important aspects of path-dependency have been ignored. Organizational and ideational resistance have led to a much more traditional and conservative industrial policy than would be expected. Grounded historical analysis about intra-government conflicts, combined with studies about policy and sectoral developments, could give us elements to better assess the failures and achievements of the Brazilian case.


Resumen: Avances y retrocesos: Una evaluación de la política industrial brasileña en el siglo XXI


A la luz de diversos análisis sobre el renacimiento de la política industrial en América Latina, Brasil es frecuentemente alabado como el país arquetipo de la mencionada coyuntura. La combinación de instituciones e instrumentos antiguos y modernos constituiría un singular esfuerzo para promover el desarrollo industrial en el periodo post-neoliberal.  Sin embargo, la consecución de dicha experiencia fueron mediocres resultados de actividad industrial. Habiendo efectuado un examen de reciente literatura sobre la institucionalización y los resultados de la política industrial brasileña, sostenemos que, en dicho material, han sido ignorados importantes aspectos de la dependencia de la trayectoria (path-dependency). Resistencia organizativa y de formación de ideas han conducido a la implementación de una política industrial mucho más tradicional y conservadora de lo que se hubiera esperado. Un profundo análisis histórico acerca de conflictos intergubernamentales, combinado con estudios sobre política y evoluciones sectoriales pueden ofrecernos instrumentos para evaluar más eficazmente los fallos y los logros del caso brasileño.

How to Cite: Kasahara, Y., & Botelho, A. J. J. (2016). Catching up and Falling behind: An Appraisal of Brazilian Industrial Policy in the Twenty-First Century. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, (101), 97–109. DOI:
Published on 13 Apr 2016.
Peer Reviewed


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