Political Science ETDs


Grant Burrier

Publication Date



The dissertation analyzes the developmental state and public policy in Brazil, exploring the extent to which the policymaking process is rationalized or politicized. Specifically, I look at these issues in the multi-year infrastructure project, the Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento (PAC). Brazil has a long history of clientelism and pork barrel spending. At the same time, the rise of developmentalist leaders has undermined these historical legacies and encouraged the implementation of more rationalized economic policies. In order to function properly, a developmental state requires rationalization and most scholars have assumed that authoritarian, one party states would provide the necessary insulation. The democratic nature of contemporary Brazil means leaders and policymakers face greater scrutiny and embed themselves in civil society in a way that undermines traditional understandings of the developmental state. I provide a history of developmentalism in Brazil, identifying crucial actors and critical junctures that have enabled or constrained developmental policy. I explore how infrastructure projects are allocated in a way that responds to economic imperatives. At the same time, politics matter. Democratic institutions make social and economic concerns more salient to policymakers and constrain their overall autonomy.

Degree Name

Political Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Political Science

First Committee Member (Chair)

Hochstetler, Kathryn

Second Committee Member

Micozzi, Juan Pablo

Third Committee Member

Stanley, William

Project Sponsors

Latin American-Iberian Institute (UNM)




Brazil, Developmentalism, Bureaucratic Reform, Public Policy, Infrastructure, Hydroelectric Dams, Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT)

Document Type