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Brazil: The Prospects of a Center-Constraining Federation in a Fragmented Polity

Celina Souza
Publius
Vol. 32, No. 2, The Global Review of Federalism (Spring, 2002), pp. 23-48
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3330944
Page Count: 26
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Brazil: The Prospects of a Center-Constraining Federation in a Fragmented Polity
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Abstract

Although there have been deep changes in the federation as a consequence of redemocratization and decentralization, Brazil continues to exhibit profound imbalances among regions. These imbalances create contradictions and tensions in Brazilian federalism. The central problem addressed in this article is to identify the main difficulties facing federalism, and to assess their consequences on the prospects of federalism should tensions continue unabated. Brazilian federalism has always been a means of accommodating deep-rooted regional disparities. Although there are political and fiscal mechanisms to offset some of the problems of regional disparities, such mechanisms have been insufficient to counteract a long history of uneven regional development. Because of the country's inequalities, the capabilities of subnational governments to respond to Brazil's current demands and agendas are highly uneven.

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