Transparency’s Gestation at 9 Months – Does Bolsonaro Deliver?

Transparency for them, privacy for us! As its honeymoon draws to a close, the Bolsonaro government has revealed an insecure commitment to transparency. There are good reasons for feeling insecure. My research (here and here, and forthcoming book) has shown that few democratic regimes are as undecided about transparency as uncohesive minority governments, of which Read more about Transparency’s Gestation at 9 Months – Does Bolsonaro Deliver?[…]

Legality, Legitimacy and Logic – Why Expanding Secrecy Makes No Sense

Published in O Globo, authored by Gregory Michener & Irene Niskier. While President Jair Bolsonaro spoke in Davos, his Vice President, Hamilton Mourão, and Chief of Staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, perpetrated a small change in Brazil’s freedom of information (FOI) law that will amount to big negative effects for transparency, the federal public administration, and the Read more about Legality, Legitimacy and Logic – Why Expanding Secrecy Makes No Sense[…]

Bolsonaro and generals

Bolsonaro’s Turn to Secrecy – Weakening Brazil’s Freedom of Information Law

Originally published in Folha de São Paulo, authored by Gregory Michener and Irene Niskier. President Jair Bolsonaro was elected based on two noble promises: advance the rule of law to fight crime and corruption, and strengthen Brazil’s fiscal position by creating a more efficient state. Transparency is a precondition for advancing both of these promises. Read more about Bolsonaro’s Turn to Secrecy – Weakening Brazil’s Freedom of Information Law[…]

Brazil’s Next President – “O Maluco” v. “A Máfia” (The Madman v. The Mafia)

Tomorrow, people will be forced to decide whether to vote for what one group of voters is calling a “madman” (Jair Bolsonaro) and another group of voters often refer to as “a mafia” (the PT or Workers’ Party). There is no least of these worst choices  – they are both appalling. It is an anti-candidate Read more about Brazil’s Next President – “O Maluco” v. “A Máfia” (The Madman v. The Mafia)[…]

Proposals to Root-Out Political Corruption in Brazil

As I have opined in previous posts, a) the party and electoral system is the key to understanding political corruption in Brazil; and, b) the media has been loathe to provide salience to any concrete proposals for reform, especially among civil society advocates. Simply put, Brazil’s fragmented party system, giant districts, and open-list competition produces hearty profits for the Read more about Proposals to Root-Out Political Corruption in Brazil[…]

It’s the Party System. What To Do about It.

The irony of Brazil’s political system is that its fragmented party system – so seemingly appropriate for countering historical legacies of patrimonialism and monopoly power – has provoked forms of neopatrimonialism, whereby state resources are used to buy the support of other politicians. What can be done to fix Brazilian politics? As I wrote last post, it’s the party Read more about It’s the Party System. What To Do about It.[…]

Mensalão + Car Wash = It’s the Party System, Stupid.

It is safe to say that the problem with Brazil’s government is not its choice of coalition partners, but rather the lack of choice. Faced with a governing coalition in disintegration, Rousseff has given larger pieces of the state pie to several of Brazil’s many rent-seeking parties. One of them, the Partido Progresista (PP), has been Read more about Mensalão + Car Wash = It’s the Party System, Stupid.[…]

Four Crises

Brazil is currently experiencing three crises and is in danger of igniting a fourth, a crisis of civic polarization. Much astute writing about these crises has already been penned or spoken by the likes of my friends Matt Taylor, Octavio Amorim Neto, Carlos Pereira, and Globe and Mail correspondent Stephanie Nollen, among others. The first  crisis is the Read more about Four Crises[…]

Back, observing.

In 2013-14 the pressure to publish academically at the FGV became significant, as I was facing a ‘third year review’ – of which I still await (respectable) results. As a result of my publishing obligations and a still-in-progress national/international research project, I left off Observing Brazil. The tradeoff between doing academic scholarship and writing about current events is not easily negotiated. But Read more about Back, observing.[…]