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Brazil’s Economic Identity

July 17, 2014 Comments off

Brazil’s Economic Identity
Source: Center for Strategic & International Studies

As the sixth BRICS summit comes to a close on July 16, this paper brings clarity to Brazil’s role in the global economy—its identity, its self-perception, and what can be expected of it. Though Brazil is no longer an “optional market” for the world’s major players, Brazil’s economic identity is ill-understood—and leans heavily on the country’s development agenda. For Brazil, this agenda informs its global strategy, demanding cautious involvement in global markets and new strategic partnerships in technology and manufacturing.

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The Future of Driving in Developing Countries

July 17, 2014 Comments off

The Future of Driving in Developing Countries
Source: RAND Corporation

The level of automobility, defined as travel in personal vehicles, is often seen as a function of income: The higher a country’s per capita income, the greater the amount of driving. However, levels of automobility vary quite substantially between countries even at similar levels of economic development. This suggests that countries follow different mobility paths. The research detailed in this report sought to answer three questions: What are the factors besides economic development that affect automobility? What is their influence on automobility? What will happen to automobility in developing countries if they progress along similar paths as developed countries? To answer these questions, the authors developed a methodology to identify these factors, model their impact on developed countries, and forecast automobility (as defined by per capita vehicle-kilometers traveled [VKT]) in four developing countries. This methodology draws on quantitative analysis of historical automobility development in four country case studies (the United States, Australia, Germany, and Japan) that represent very different levels of per capita automobility, in combination with data derived from an expert-based qualitative approach. The authors used the latter to assess how these experiences may affect the future of automobility in the BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India, and China. According to this analysis, automobility levels in the four BRIC countries will fall between those of the United States (which has the highest per capita VKT level of the four case studies) and Japan (which has the lowest). Brazil is forecasted to have the highest per capita VKT and India the lowest.

National Funding of Road Infrastructure

July 10, 2014 Comments off

National Funding of Road Infrastructure
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report examines the funding of roads and highways in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England and Wales, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa, and Sweden. It provides a description of the infrastructure in the jurisdiction, information on the ownership and responsibility of the roads, and taxes or other ways of collecting money to fund the nation’s infrastructure. If applicable, a discussion of reforms or new initiatives is examined.

On Eve of World Cup, Brazil Well-Regarded in Much of the World

June 11, 2014 Comments off

On Eve of World Cup, Brazil Well-Regarded in Much of the World
Source: Pew Research Global Attitudes Project

As Brazil prepares to host its second World Cup, at least half of those surveyed in 24 of 37 countries have a favorable view of the South American nation. Views of Brazil are particularly positive in Latin America and Asia, although in many countries a fair share of people offer no opinion. Brazil gets especially high ratings among young people in many nations around the world. However, Brazil receives low marks in some major Middle Eastern nations.

These are the findings of a new survey by the Pew Research Center conducted in 37 countries among 41,408 respondents from March 17 to May 23, 2014. In total, a median of 54% across the 37 countries have a favorable view of Brazil. Meanwhile, 76% of Brazilians say their country should be more respected around the world than it currently is.

Brazilian Discontent Ahead of World Cup

June 6, 2014 Comments off

Brazilian Discontent Ahead of World Cup
Source: Pew Research Global Attitudes Project

The national mood in Brazil is grim, following a year in which more than a million people have taken to the streets of major cities across the country to protest corruption, rising inflation and a lack of government investment in public services such as education, health care and public transportation, among other things. A new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that 72% of Brazilians are dissatisfied with the way things are going in their country, up from 55% just weeks before the demonstrations began in June 2013.

Opinions about the national economy have changed even more dramatically over this one-year period. Two-thirds now say Brazil’s once-booming economy is in bad shape, while just 32% say the economy is good. In 2013, the balance of opinion was reversed: a 59%-majority thought the country was in good shape economically, while 41% said the economy was bad. Economic ratings had been consistently positive since 2010, when Pew Research first conducted a nationally-representative survey of Brazil.

Brazilians are also concerned about the impact that hosting the World Cup, which begins June 12, will have on their country. About six-in-ten (61%) think hosting the event is a bad thing for Brazil because it takes money away from schools, health care and other public services — a common theme in the protests that have swept the country since June 2013. Just 34% think the World Cup, which Brazil will host for the first time since 1950 and which could attract more than 3.5 million people to the nation’s twelve host cities, will create more jobs and help the economy.

Brazil’s Next Consumer Frontier: Capturing Growth in the Rising Interior

June 4, 2014 Comments off

Brazil’s Next Consumer Frontier: Capturing Growth in the Rising Interior
Source: Boston Consulting Group

For the past few decades, both foreign and domestic companies have scrambled for advantage in Brazil, striving to tap into one of the world’s greatest emerging consumer markets. But, in general, they have not thought far beyond the capital cities and major metropolitan areas. Small cities deep within Brazil’s interior account for more than half of the country’s population. But compared with the rich opportunities in bigger cities, especially along the country’s southern coast, they have been regarded as less affluent, too dispersed, and excessively hard to reach.

This view needs to change fast: the action is moving away from capital and metropolitan cities. Millions of households in interior cities, which we define as those located outside of Brazil’s major metropolitan areas and 26 capital cities, are vaulting from poverty into the ranks of the middle class and the affluent. Interior cities will become the primary drivers of growth at least through the rest of this decade. We project that, by 2020, interior cities will account for nearly half of incremental household consumption, or around $130 billion in added spending. They will be especially important sources of growth in sectors such as financial services, automobiles, and apparel.

Free registration required to access report.

Brazil’s path to inclusive growth

June 2, 2014 Comments off

Brazil’s path to inclusive growth
Source: McKinsey & Company

More than 25 years of democracy and political stability have allowed Brazil to make major strides in economic development, including cutting its official poverty rate by half. Yet the forces that provided much of the economy’s momentum during the past decade—an expanding labor force, credit-fueled consumption, and high commodity prices—are beginning to stall.

This recent slowdown has exposed the more fundamental issue of the country’s long-term weakness in income growth (exhibit). Although Brazil has become the world’s seventh-largest economy, it ranks 95th in the world for GDP per capita. Most households have experienced only modest income growth, while inefficiencies and extra layers of taxes and tariffs push the prices of many consumer goods beyond reach. Having successfully lifted millions out of extreme poverty, Brazil must now deliver on the promise of a middle-class life.

Brazil’s Rise: Seeking Influence on Global Governance

May 21, 2014 Comments off

Brazil’s Rise: Seeking Influence on Global Governance
Source: Brookings Institution

During the past decade Brazil has benefited from an unprecedented set of opportunities to rise as a major power and influence global governance:

• A large economy powered by a boom in commodity exports
• Considerable soft power
• Lack of regional rivals
• A network of partners among other rising powers and the developing world

Its present economic and political difficulties in 2014 should not be a distraction from its long-term rise as an important player on the world stage.

This paper documents Brazil’s attempts to rise historically in the face of the mismatch between its aspirations, capabilities and opportunities and it shows how Brazil has adjusted its strategy after each attempt with the eventual aim of becoming a major power.

Even today, when it wields considerably greater economic power than at any previous time in its history, Brazil’s participation in global governance is undercut by its reluctance to assume the costs – military or economic – that are required for shaping and maintaining, let alone revising, the present international order. This paper concludes by outlining four steps that Brazil could still take to improve its ability to influence world order, as well as two considerations for U.S. policy makers as they think about Brazil’s rise.

Global Economic Outlook Q2 2014

May 20, 2014 Comments off

Global Economic Outlook Q2 2014
Source: Deloitte

The second quarter edition of the Global Economic Outlook offers timely insights from Deloitte Research economists about the Eurozone, China, the United States, Japan, India, Russia, Brazil, and the United Kingdom. In addition, this issue’s special topic considers the revival in international trade and the resurgence of bilateralism.

Upscale Tech-Savvy Millennials: Saving and Investment Strategies Around the World

May 16, 2014 Comments off

Upscale Tech-Savvy Millennials: Saving and Investment Strategies Around the World
Source: Nielsen

Upscale Millennials represent the future of economic growth and prosperity. These consumers are a subset of the Millennial generation with household incomes over the 75th percentile in their countries—that means households earning $30,000 or more in India and above $70,000 in the U.S.

This young segment of the population is actively saving and investing, and these consumers feel confident in their financial futures. In contrast to the global population, the proportion of upscale Millennials actively saving exceeds future savings intentions in areas reflective of their lifestage like higher education and a first-home purchase. And they’re devoting a larger portion of their monthly income to savings than the general Millennial population. Financial institutions should look to consumer sentiment and savings intentions country by country to develop strategies to educate and connect with upscale Millennials. In an effort to better understand this group and its consumer prowess, Nielsen conducted a study across the U.S., China, India and Brazil to learn about their financial plans and aspirations.

Free registration required to download report.

CRS — Brazil: Political and Economic Situation and U.S. Relations

April 17, 2014 Comments off

Brazil: Political and Economic Situation and U.S. Relations (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

The United States has traditionally enjoyed cooperative relations with Brazil, which is the seventh-largest economy in the world and is recognized by the Obama Administration’s National Security Strategy as an emerging center of influence. Administration officials have often highlighted Brazil’s status as a multicultural democracy, referring to the country as a natural partner that shares values and goals with the United States. Bilateral ties have been strained from time to time, however, as the countries’ occasionally divergent national interests and independent foreign policies have led to disagreements. U.S.-Brazilian relations have been particularly strained over the past year as a result of alleged National Security Agency (NSA) activities inside Brazil. Nevertheless, the countries continue to engage on issues such as trade, energy, security, racial equality, and the environment.

Brazil — Bank Ownership, Lending, and Local Economic Performance During the 2008-2010 Financial Crisis

April 3, 2014 Comments off

Bank Ownership, Lending, and Local Economic Performance During the 2008-2010 Financial Crisis
Source: Federal Reserve Board

While the finance literature often equates government banks with political capture and capital misallocation, these banks can help mitigate financial shocks. This paper examines the role of Brazil’s government banks in preventing a recession during the 2008-2010 financial crisis. Government banks in Brazil provided more credit, which offset declines in lending by private banks. Areas in Brazil with a high share of government banks experienced increases in lending, production, and employment during the crisis compared to areas with a low share of these banks. We find no evidence that lending was politically targeted or that it caused productivity to decline in the short-run.

AU — The G20: a quick guide

March 26, 2014 Comments off

The G20: a quick guide
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

This is a quick guide to basic information about the G20, as well as links to useful summary resources. The G20 background section includes the G20’s history, its members, the hosting system and G20 meeting processes, as well as a brief discussion of selected policy areas. Material on Australia and the G20 includes Australia’s involvement in the G20, Australia’s G20 goals for 2014 and speeches and press releases on the G20. A short list of links provides access to more resources on the G20.

Global Pensions Asset Study – 2014

February 27, 2014 Comments off

Global Pensions Asset Study – 2014
Source: Towers Watson

This is a study of the 13 largest pension markets in the world and accounts for more than 85% of global pension assets. The countries included are Australia, Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, the UK and the US. The study also analyses seven countries in greater depth by excluding the six smallest markets (Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Hong Kong and South Africa).

The analysis includes:

  • Asset size, including growth statistics, comparison of asset size with GDP and liabilities
  • Asset allocation
  • Defined benefit and defined contribution share of pension assets
  • Public and private sector share of pension assets.

Statistical Signs of Social Influence on Suicides

February 24, 2014 Comments off

Statistical Signs of Social Influence on Suicides
Source: arXiv.org

Certain currents in sociology consider society as being composed of autonomous individuals with independent psychologies. Others, however, deem our actions as strongly influenced by the accepted standards of social behavior. The later view was central to the positivist conception of society when in 1887 \’Emile Durkheim published his monograph Suicide (Durkheim, 1897). By treating the suicide as a social fact, Durkheim envisaged that suicide rates should be determined by the connections (or the lack of them) between people and society. Under the same framework, Durkheim considered that crime is bound up with the fundamental conditions of all social life and serves a social function. In this sense, and regardless of its extremely deviant nature, crime events are somehow capable to release certain social tensions and so have a purging effect in society. The social effect on the occurrence of homicides has been previously substantiated (Bettencourt et al., 2007; Alves et al., 2013), and confirmed here, in terms of a superlinear scaling relation: by doubling the population of a Brazilian city results in an average increment of 135 % in the number of homicides, rather than the expected isometric increase of 100 %, as found, for example, for the mortality due to car crashes. Here we present statistical signs of the social influence on the suicide occurrence in cities. Differently from homicides (superlinear) and fatal events in car crashes (isometric), we find sublinear scaling behavior between the number of suicides and city population, with allometric power-law exponents, β=0.836±0.009 and 0.870±0.002, for all cities in Brazil and US, respectively. The fact that the frequency of suicides is disproportionately small for larger cities reveals a surprisingly beneficial aspect of living and interacting in larger and more complex social networks.

CRS — Status of the WTO Brazil-U.S. Cotton Case

February 11, 2014 Comments off

Status of the WTO Brazil-U.S. Cotton Case (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Library)

The so-called “Brazil cotton case” is a long-running World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement case (DS267) initiated by Brazil—a major cotton export competitor—in 2002 against specific provisions of the U.S. cotton program. In September 2004, a WTO dispute settlement panel ruled that (1) certain U.S. agricultural support payments for cotton distorted international agricultural markets and should be either withdrawn or modified to end the market distortions; and (2) U.S. Step-2 payments and agricultural export credit guarantees for cotton and other unscheduled commodities were prohibited under WTO rules and should be withdrawn.

Dividing the Pie in Brazil: Income Distribution, Social Policies and the New Middle Class

January 28, 2014 Comments off

Dividing the Pie in Brazil: Income Distribution, Social Policies and the New Middle Class
Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Brazil has made remarkable progress in reducing poverty and inequality. This reduction is explained by strong growth but also by effective social policies. Besides growth, public services and cash transfers have played the biggest role, the latter notably through the successful “Bolsa Familia” programme. Among public services, improved access to education has played a major role, allowing more Brazilians to move into better-paid jobs. However, shortages in physical school infrastructure are limiting the hours of instruction that students receive. The high drop-out rate needs to be reduced through early interventions such as expanding early-childhood education, by reducing grade-repetition and through more tailored support for those at risk. The quality of teaching could also be raised through more in-service teacher training and stronger performance incentives for teachers. Performance of public services devoted to health and transports has been mixed. Public health services are widely available but suffer from underfunding and training places for medical staff need to be expanded. The public urban transport system suffers from a shortage of investment which is urgently needed to upgrade capacity. Regarding cash transfers, the success of “Bolsa Familia” and new programmes put in place under the umbrella of the “Brasil sem Miseria” programme is remarkable but transfer payments remain too heavily focused on pension benefits. Giving more priority to “Bolsa Familia” and “Brasil sem Miseria” while limiting the real growth of pension expenditures in the future would improve the effectiveness of social expenditures for reducing poverty and inequality.

Brazilian economy is expanding again but long-term challenges remain, says OECD

October 23, 2013 Comments off

Brazilian economy is expanding again but long-term challenges remain, says OECD
Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Brazil has moved up the ranks of the world’s largest economies while making economic growth ever more inclusive. Renewed economic dynamism will allow it to continue converging with more advanced economies and ensuring that disadvantaged groups share in the benefits of future growth, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Survey of Brazil.

Tweeting News Articles: Readership and News Sections in Europe and the Americas

October 15, 2013 Comments off

Tweeting News Articles: Readership and News Sections in Europe and the Americas
Source: Sage Open

In this article we investigate the impact of social media readership to the editorial profile of newspapers. We analyze tweets containing links to news articles from eight of the largest national newspapers in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, and Germany. The data collection follows the first two weeks of October 2012 and includes 2,842,699 tweets with links to news articles. Twitter-shortened links were resolved using a three-pass routine and assigned to 1 of the 21 newspaper sections. We found the concentration of links to news articles posted by top users to be lower than reported in the literature and the strategy of relaying headlines on Twitter via automatic news aggregators (feeds) to be inefficient. The results of this investigation show which sections of a newspaper are the most and least read by readers in different parts of the world, with German readers placing greater emphasis on Politics and Economy; Brazilians on Sports and Arts; Spaniards on Local and National news; Britons and Americans on Opinion and World news. We also found that German and Spanish readers are more likely to read multiple national newspapers, while British readers more often resort to foreign sources of news. The results confirm that feedback to news items from a large user base is pivotal for the replication of content and that newspapers and news items can be clustered according to the editorial profile and principles of newsworthiness inherited from legacy media. The results of this investigation shed light onto the networked architecture of journalism that increasingly depends on readership agency.

Country Analysis Brief: Brazil

October 2, 2013 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Brazil
Source: Energy Information Administration

The latest complete EIA statistics for all countries (2010) indicate Brazil is the 8th largest energy consumer in the world and the third largest in the Americas, behind the United States and Canada. Total primary energy consumption in Brazil has increased by more than one third in the past decade because of sustained economic growth. EIA 2010 statistics show Brazil is the 10th largest energy producer in the world. In addition, Brazil has made great strides in increasing its total energy production, particularly oil and ethanol. Increasing domestic oil production has been a long-term goal of the Brazilian government, and recent discoveries of large offshore, pre-salt oil deposits could transform Brazil into one of the largest oil producers in the world.

Total Brazilian energy consumption grew to 11.7 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2011. The largest share of Brazil’s total energy consumption comes from oil and other liquid fuels (47%), followed by hydroelectricity (35%) and natural gas (8%). Additionally, Brazil is consuming increasing amounts of biomass in both the residential and industrial sectors.

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