Global Platform of International Public Policies
Brazil Exporting Social Policies: From Local Innovation to a Global Model

Brazil Exporting Social Policies: From Local Innovation to a Global Model

The importation of foreign models is part of Brazil’s institution building story, owing to its Portuguese colonisation and the influence of European countries and the United States. After the transition to democracy and the Constitution of 1988, the scenario began to change. The country developed social policy innovations that rose to a national scale when the Workers’ Party took office. These innovations started to spread globally, and international organisations began to recommend Brazilian social policies. Examples of Brazilian policies that have been transferred are the Family Allowance and the National School Feeding Programs. How has Brazil moved from importing foreign institutions to becoming a Southern country reference in terms of social policies? The main argument here is that Brazil, while building itself into a rising power, has developed new patterns of policy transfers that have so far been overlooked by the field literature. Through a process-tracing analysis of Brazil’s social policy diffusion, we have been able to identify different forces that facilitate these transfers, such as a quest for international legitimacy, the role of “policy ambassadors,” the joint efforts of various national institutions, Brazilians occupying positions in international organisations, and the creation of institutions designed for these policy transfers.

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Prof. Osmany Porto

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