BRAZIL INITIATIVE RESEARCH PROJECTS


2017/2018 Academic Year

The Brazil Initiative seeks to foster research on Brazil by the GW community and supports research by faculty as well as graduate and undergraduate students. 

 

 

Digital Protectionism: Implications for Internet Stability and Online Trust in Brazil
Dr. Susan Ariel Aaronson
Brazil Initiative
Research Professor and Cross-Disciplinary Fellow
Elliott School of International Affairs

"In this project, I examine digital protectionism and its potential effects on internet stability and openness in Brazil. The US has led efforts to develop rules to encourage digital trade and limit domestic measures that could distort such trade. However, in recent months, Republican members of Congress and the Trump Administration have signaled a new emphasis on digital protectionism. Although the US Government has a clear definition for digital protectionism, it does not have a governance structure to distinguish between measures that are trade distorting and legitimate domestic regulations such as privacy regulations. Moreover, the US has not clarified whether it will rely on traditional protectionist remedies for trade distortions such as tariffs or quotas. Policymakers that choose to apply such remedies could reduce internet generativity; disrupt the internet, and/or undermine human rights online. Finally, the US Government has not developed a broad based public advisory group to advise it on appropriate strategies to address digital protectionism and weigh its potential effects on other policy goals. In this project I will examine US, EU, and Brazilian policies towards digital protectionism".


Globalization and Organizational Innovation: Evidence from Brazil
Dr. Maggie Chen
Brazil Initiative
Director of the Institute of International Economic Policy
Professor of Economics and International Affairs
Elliott School of International Affairs

The process of globalization can have far reaching consequences for firm productivity. Yet, the mechanisms of productivity growth still remain largely a black box. In this project, we investigate the impact of globalization on firm productivity through not only product and process upgrading, but also organization innovation-- -a channel that has received little attention. We explore the case of Brazil to examine (i) how globalization (including export market access and import competition) has influenced the organization innovation of Brazilian firms (and its complementarities with product and process innovation); (ii) how the rise of China, in particular, has affected Brazilian firms’ innovation; and (iii) how the organization innovation or the lack thereof, in interaction with the other types of innovation, has shaped the productivity of Brazilian firms.


Obstacles to Innovation and Firm Innovativeness in Brazil
Dr. Nicholas S. Vonortas
Brazil Initiative
Institute for International Science and Technology Policy
Elliott School of International Affairs
Department of Economics
The George Washington University
São Paulo Excellence Chair
Department of Science and Technology Policy, University of Campinas

This study will focus on private sector innovation capabilities and innovation propensity across sectors and company types in Brazil. The study aims at unveiling the role of financial and non- financial obstacles in turning innovation propensity into products/services and processes. A two- pronged empirical approach will combine nation-wide quantitative analysis based on the latest version of the Brazilian Innovation Survey (PINTEC) and qualitative analysis based on focused groups and company cases concentrated in the Santos - Ribeirão Preto high-tech corridor (State of São Paulo). The study will address market and systemic failures that can hinder innovation nationwide and in local entrepreneurial ecosystems, deepen understanding of the relationship between obstacles to innovation and firm innovativeness, and provide policy recommendations.


Tax and Development In Brazil
Livia Pinheiro Lopes
Brazil Initiative Visiting Scholar
Elliott School of International Affairs
Dr. Mark S. Langevin
Director of the Brazil Initiative and Research Professor
Elliott School of International Affairs

The Brazilian tax system has been at the center of a national debate on the role of the state in promoting economic and social development. Afonso, Soares e Pacheco de Castro (2013) examine the Brazilian tax system to inform research and policymaking.
They report that taxation since the 1960s has not been sufficiently reformed to take into account the modernization of the national economy and the current set of development challenges. Overall, Afonso et al. point to the relatively high aggregate taxation rate, accumulating market distortions triggered by select taxes and contributions, increasing inequality and quality of the tax system, and the indirect taxation of investments and exports as well as the mouting “fiscal war” between governmental jurisdictions, from the municipal to the federal government. Baer (2014) reports that the tax burden grew from 14.9 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1949 to 35.3 percent by 2011 (pp. 228). Andrade (2015) examines the regressive nature of Brazil’s current taxation and Zugman (2016) explores the many “institutional shackles” that prevent deeper reform efforts to eliminate distortions, lessen equality, and broaden the base of the tax system especially in the face of falling revenues due to the drop in commodity export prices and recession in recent years. Our research project explores the major features of the Brazilian tax system across four policy dimensions to evaluate its impact on economic and social development and identify opportunities for incremental tax reforms that contribute to economic recovery while deepening socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable development in the long term.


Inside the Cotton Dispute: Seeds of Conflict, Politics of Compliance and the Struggle for a Solution
Dr. Mark S. Langevin
Director of the Brazil Initiative and Research Professor
Elliott School of International Affairs

The “cotton dispute” is a hallmark for Brazilian diplomacy and the most important conflict treated by the World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB). As Black details, “the Cotton dispute was the first agricultural subsidy case brought before the WTO and the first case in which LDC [lesser developed countries] participated (2016:403). This clash over United States subsidies and export credit guarantees riveted the attention of trade policymakers and development advocates during the first decade of the century because it exposed the elemental structural inequalities that curse the global political economy. It publicized the mounting competition over world agricultural commodity markets. The cotton dispute smashed the founding myth of the international liberal order; that all global powers equally adhere to the rules of global governance. This trade conflict between Brazil and the U.S. dramatized an existential struggle between David and Goliath, North and South. The dispute gave life to the logic of the Doha Development Round. For scholars of international trade conflict and resolution, the cotton dispute was a critical “stress test” for the DSB. For Brazilian cotton growers it promised future opportunities. For U.S. growers, it threatened their economic security. For nearly all, the cotton dispute was a game changer. Inside the Cotton Dispute: Seeds of Conflict, Politics of Compliance and the Struggle for a Solution explores this remarkable
trade conflict between two agricultural superpowers with a focus on Brazil’s rapid agricultural modernization in recent decades and its impact on trade policy formation and global economic governance.


Those interested in receiving Brazil Initiative support for their research should contact the Brazil Initiative Program Assistant, Livia Lopes (esbi@gwu.edu), for more information.