Instituições, voz política e atraso educacional no Brasil, 1930-1964 / Institutions, political voice and educational backwardness in Brazil, 1930-1964




This dissertation aims to examine possible explanations for the backwardness in the expansion of Brazilian primary education between 1930 and 1964, despite the fact that Brazil achieved high rates of economic growth through promoting import-substitution industrialization. In particular, the roles of distribution of political power and decentralization in the expansion of primary enrollment rates are addressed. The data show that during the Estado Novo, a dictatorial regime under Vargas rule, there was decrease in primary enrollment rates. The return to democracy in 1945/46 was beneficial to primary schooling. However, contrary to what happened in developed countries, our evidence indicates that Brazils experience is more similar to what happened in India. Education in both countries developed in the context of a highly elitist democracy, in which the expansion of suffrage had little effect on the expansion of education, with a negative impact on long-term economic growth. In addition to the lack of political voice, the lack of adequate financial resources for states and municipalities was also an obstacle to the development of basic education. Qualitative evidence shows that federal governments were more concerned with tertiary schooling, in detriment to primary schooling. Quantitative evidence, in turn, shows that the level of electoral competition and administrative decentralization had positive effects on enrollment rates in some states, but suffrage expansion seems to have had little influence on primary schooling expansion. The lack of attention given to this schooling level, due to the lack of political voice of the population, probably had negative effects on the structure of income distribution in Brazil throughout the 20th century.


institutional economics história econômica political power economic history economia institucional história da educação poder político history of education

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