Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Autocracy vs. Democracy: Political Regimes and Punctuated Equilibrium in Brazil

I test the punctuated equilibrium theory (PET) developed by Jones and Baumgartner (2005) in the context of authoritarianism and democracy in Latin America. By analyzing public budgeting in Brazil, I find evidence that supports the PET. In both political regimes, there is a combination of policy stability and policy punctuations, implying that the distinction between authoritarianism and democracy is not fundamental for understanding budget allocation in Latin America. I find that the level of proportionality in governmental response in authoritarian regimes is greater than in democracies and that proportionality is substantially lower in democracies when centrist ideology and severe economic constraints lead policymakers to develop a narrower set of goals. Once severe economic constraints decrease and a left-wing political party assumes power, the level of proportionality increases. Nevertheless, I find that the level of proportionality can be at best medium because of policymakers' limited attention to all issues.