This paper looks in detail at the sharp slowdown in the Brazilian economy for the years 2011-2014,in which economic growth averaged only 2.1 percent annually,as compared with 4.4 percent in the 2004-2010 period. The latter level of growth was also more than double Brazil’s average annual growth rate over the prior 23 years (although it was much lower than the pre-1980 period). It is important to understand why the higher rate of growth experienced from 2004 to 2010 was notsustained over the past few years.
The authors argue that the slowdown is overwhelmingly the result of a sharp decline in domestic demand, rather than a fall in exports and even less any change in external financial conditions. The sharp fall in domestic demand, in turn, is shown to be a result of deliberate policy decisions made by the government. This decision to slow the economy was not necessary, i.e., it was not made in response to some external constraint such as a balance-of-payments problem.
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