CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Summary of Dr. Sierra's lecture "Partners at Home and Abroad: How Brazil Globalized State Capitalism"

October 16th, 2019

A riveting presentation by Dr. Jazmin Sierra kicked off the speaker series Markets, the State, and Democracy in Latin America hosted by CIPR and The Stone Center at Tulane University.

Dr. Sierra, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, spoke on her research for her book project Partners at Home and Abroad: How Brazil Globalized State Capital in which she explores how the Brazilian government promotes outward investment of domestic firms. She presented her central research questions, methodological approach, results and answered questions in a Q&A session that followed her presentation.

Dr. Sierra began by presenting the puzzling nature of the Brazilian Workers’ Party active role in supporting foreign direct investment (FDI) despite the country’s history of suffering from capital flight and opposition of FDI from organized labor and social movements. To answer her central research questions Why do governments actively support outward FDI? and How does this policy actually affect firm’s outward investments?, Sierra explained the process tracing approach she employed to gauge ideas of policymakers in both state supported firms and non-supported firms before and after the Brazilian industrial policy that promoted FDI was enacted. She supported her basic argument that outward FDI is more likely to take place in countries that have a legacy of state capitalism with qualitative and quantitative evidence drawn from 15 months of fieldwork in the form of in-depth interviews with policy makers, firm managers, labor and social movement leaders, and archival research of firm documents.

The Q&A session sparked conversations surrounding topics including how the process of outward investment of domestic firms is changing under the Bolsonaro administration, how the workers’ party ended up supporting the industrial policies, how the failure cases of FDI affected her results, and how her theories could be applied to other countries. All in attendance were extremely grateful for Dr. Sierra’s thorough and thought-provoking lecture that brought further insight to globalized state capitalism. ‘

Thanks to Tara Yanez for writing this summary.