Revista de Sociologia e Política
Print version ISSN 0104-4478
NEIVA, Pedro and IZUMI, Maurício. The "doctors" of a nation: the academic background of Brazilian senators and associated variables. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2012, vol.20, n.41, pp. 171-192. ISSN 0104-4478. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-44782012000100011.
We provide a detailed description of the academic background of Brazilian senators during the 1987-2006 period, attempting to identify emerging cross-sectional and longitudinal patterns. We also attempt to verify to what extent backgrounds are related to region of origin, political party affiliation, participation in commissions, parliamentary experience and behavior within Senate plenaries. We discern a predominance of senators with Law degrees, yet a longitudinal perspective shows us that this advantage is on the decline. Other important groups are engineers, health professionals and people with backgrounds in the humanities. Particular mention should be given to the role of senators with backgrounds in Economics, concentrated primarily in the south eastern region of the country and within political parties that demonstrate presidential vocation - the Worker's Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT)) and the Social Democratic Party (Partido da Social-Democracia Brasileira (PSDB) - and within the Economic Affairs Committee (Comissão de Assuntos Econômicos.) Economists seem to have played an important role at a time of internal and external economic crises, galloping inflation and an agenda that privileges fiscal adjustment, reform, privatization and macroeconomic stability.
Keywords : Senators; Federal Senate; Elites; Profile; Economists; Legislative Power.