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The economic and political determinants of presidential approval in Brazil, 1986-2016

Grant number: 17/18633-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2017
Effective date (End): November 30, 2018
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science
Principal Investigator:Lorena Guadalupe Barberia
Grantee:Maria Leticia Claro de Faria Oliveira
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:16/14525-6 - Political institutions, patterns of executive-legislative relations and government capacity, AP.TEM


The present study seeks to study the determinants of presidential popularity in Brazil since the return of democracy to the present in a comparative perspective. Specifically, the project seeks to advance understanding in how economic policy changes influence presidential approval. There are two justifications for this research project and its relevance. First, few systematic studies have examined economic voting in Latin American democracies. Second, the literature on economic voting dedicated to analyzing the Brazilian case has concentrated on analyzing one or a couple of elections with scant attention to concerns regarding the relationship of patterns across time. Seeking to address this lacuna, the present study examines presidential approval dynamics since the return of democracy in Brazil to the present. Using macroeconomic data, the project seeks to answer three questions: Do approval rates vary with changes in economic policy (for example, inflation, unemployment and income growth)? In relative terms, are changes in presidential approval greater when there is greater clarity of responsibility? Are presidents held less accountable for economic performance during periods of economic crisis? (AU)