The Brazilian Outlook 2014: Elections, Economy and Mega-Events

Author: Emily Grassby


In the run-up to the October 2014 Brazilian general election, the Ambassador of Brazil to the United Kingdom and academic experts from the University of Notre Dame, University of Oxford, and the Fundação Getúlio Vargas, Brazilian School of Business and Public Administration analyzed economic, social, and electoral conditions over the coming months and beyond.

Organized by Latin America experts Professor Scott Mainwaring of Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute of International Studies and Timothy Power of the University of Oxford, the event took place at the University of Notre Dame’s London Global Gateway last Thursday, January 30.

When he introduced the panel, Scott Mainwaring noted that it would be difficult to assemble speakers with more talent and expertise on Brazil.

The Ambassador, HE Robert Jaguaribe argued that in the last two decades, Brazil has developed over the years from what his father, the well known social scientist Hélio Jaguaribe, described as an “alluvial state” into a stable democratic country with a strong economy and social inclusion. Brazil is the only large emerging country that does not confront challenging national integration issues.

Dr. Carlos Pereira of the Fundação Getúlio Vargas analyzed the coalition management strategy of the current Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff.  He questioned her political strategy of awarding the lion’s share of cabinet posts to her own Workers’ Party (PT), and he highlighted the government’s waning legislative support among its alliance partners over the past year. He expects a competitive presidential election this year.

Dr. Daniela Campello and Dr. Cesar Zucco Jr., also of the FGV, analyzed the relationship between international economic conditions, presidential approval ratings, and electoral scenarios for 2014.  Remarkably, commodity prices and international interest rates explain 62% of the variance in Brazilian presidents’ approval ratings. They then discussed the relationship between presidential approval ratings and their electoral prospects. Given President Dilma’s current approval ratings, they project that she is likely to win between 46% and 48% of the first round vote in October. 

Mainwaring and speakers

The final speaker was Dr Timothy Power of the University of Oxford, who focused on the context of Brazil’s 2014 elections.  He took the viewpoint that the protests that rocked Brazil in 2013 did not fundamentally change Brazil’s political and electoral situation. Noting the advantages of incumbency in Brazilian executive elections, he agreed with Campello and Zucco that the scenario for Dilma Rousseff is generally positive. He argued further that, absent any missteps in policing and crowd control, the World Cup is unlikely to have much effect on the electoral outcome.

The talks were followed by a lively Q&A session in which the speakers expanded on their arguments.

The event was well attended by academics from many UK universities, representatives from Brazilian organizations in London, members of the University of Oxford, staff and faculty from the London Global Gateway, and many others interested in Brazil.

Contact: Emily Grassby, Communications and Planning Specialist for the London Global Gateway,

Images ©University of Notre Dame London Global Gateway