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Who taxes and who spends: the federative bargain in the Brazilian federation

This article analyzes the relations of autonomy and coordination of the Brazilian federation, through examination of the trajectory of fiscal and taxation decisions. It disaggregates different dimensions of the phenomenon and concludes that, in Brazilian history, federative disputes have been dislocated from the areas of exclusive taxation to a system of fiscal transfer. Furthermore, the Brazilian model has tended to combine de-centralization formulas with centralized authority on decisions regarding collecting and spending, that is, the limitation of sub-national government's autonomy for regulation of tax collection and spending. Changes in political regime are not a sufficient explanation for changes in the fiscal and tax systems; the centralization of decision-making and the pattern of alliances in each particular arena provide better explanations for the variation that occurs.

tax federalism; fiscal transfer; political bargains

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