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The Public Good and the Brazilian StateMunicipal Finance and Public Services in São Paulo, 1822-1930$
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Anne G. Hanley

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226535074

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226535104.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 21 October 2019

Bricks and Mortar

Bricks and Mortar

Building Essential Infrastructure

(p.133) Chapter Five Bricks and Mortar
The Public Good and the Brazilian State

Anne G. Hanley

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines municipal investment in public works projects like roads, bridges and urbanization by the seven case study municipalities from 1822 to 1930. The transition from works by the common hand and donated labor from local notables to municipally funded and staffed public works was emblematic of the rise of the nineteenth-century liberal fiscal state. In Brazil, municipal reports, petitions, and minutes show that the public increasingly expected the local state to provide infrastructure and demanded expanded or improved public works. The capacity of the municipalities to deliver these major projects depended on the revenues generated from the local economy. Given persistent fiscal shortfalls, municipalities faced three possibilities year in and year out. These were underinvestment in public works, with potentially harmful effects on the local economy; appeals for private contributions to pay for works; or turning to the capital markets, often incurring debt levels that far exceeded their legally allowed maximums. It argues that the differential revenues produced by the taxes and fees in the empire, and then the additional borrowing capacity that rested on the sums of revenues in the republic, generated widely varying levels of investment per capita in public infrastructure between the seven cases.

Keywords:   public works, roads, bridges, urbanization, infrastructure, debt, investment per capita

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