Dados vol. 33 n. 3 Rio de Janeiro 1990

A Expansão do Setor Público na América Latina: Uma Análise Comparada

Cheibub, José Antonio


The article discusses to what extent explanations that propose to account for international variations in the growth of the public sector can be generalized. Specifically, it asks whether the different theories that intend to account for differences in the scope of the public sector in industrialized nations are also capable of accounting for the differences observed between Latin American nations. Of the five hypotheses considered, it is noted that only the international hypothesis succeeds albeit partially in accounting for such variations between Latin American nations. This hypothesis postulates that nations whose economies are highly vulnerable to, and dependent on, foreign markets experience sharper public sector growth than do nations that are relatively more isolated from the pressures imposed by the international economy. Since this conclusion is similar to that reached in studies focusing on industrialized nations, it calls into question those widely accepted explanation of the expansion of the public sector that account for observed correlations based on a causal mechanism involving the existence of societal corporativism and leftist governments.

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A Expansão do Setor Público na América Latina: Uma Análise Comparada