top of page

Acerca de

When the impossible becomes possible in politics

My dissertation builds on a classic assertion in Political Science. It is axiomatic that organized interest groups can obtain and protect policies that are generally unpopular or inefficient for the economy as a whole because their opponents cannot overcome their own collective action problems. However, sometimes we do see unexpected policy changes. My work explains how a long-victorious special interest can be overcome by a newly organized (and newly advantaged) rival. In these cases, when facing two potential support groups (or opponents) making opposite policy demands, legislators have to choose which group to please and which to disappoint. The pro-status-quo group uses a strategy that threatens legislators with the loss of votes.  To win this competition, pro-change lobbyists have to convince politicians that there is more to gain electorally from voting for the reform than from voting against it. I argue that a new balance in the relative power of competing organized groups is a key component to make politically costly policy changes possible.


The causal effect of lobbying when economic groups overcome their collective action problems

Under Review

What is the effect of organized groups on the voting behavior of deputies on politically infeasible policies? A  vast strand of research in political science posits that profound economic reforms, such as changes in the pension system, are rare because lawmakers fear retaliation by voters, and pressure from groups who have much to lose, consequently fighting for the status quo. This chapter provides an original measure of the influence of business interest groups on a topic that involved the whole country and that clearly was the target of organized strategies by unions, which focused on the potential electoral challenges for those who voted against the pension reform. I present an original field experiment, conducted at the Brazilian Congress.


The causal effect of lobbying when economic groups overcome their collective action problems

The change in relative power of organized groups as an explanation for politically infeasible policies


Under Review

While most of the literature has focused on the relationship between the president and Congress in a presidential multiparty system to explain politically challenging policies, I postulate that these policy reversals are explained by a change in the relative power of organized groups. After collecting over 100 million individual payments for dues to unions and peak business organizations, I use a sharp regression discontinuity with the day of the implementation of the new labor law, to show how unions lost most of their financing, while business organizations became relatively more powerful.

bottom of page