Arms for export? A reappraisal of the Brazilian arms industry

Diego Lopes da Silva

Abstract


There is a near-consensus among scholars and policymakers that the principal factor leading to Brazil’s arms industry crisis was its dependence on exports. However, the diffusion of the arms export-dependence argument contrasts with the lack of empirical support for it. Currently, there are no recent studies consistently estimating the overall size of Brazil’s arms production nor its reliance on external markets. Without a proper measurement of Brazil’s domestic procurement capacity, any assessment of its external dependence is only partial. To address this issue, this article uses data on domestic procurement previously introduced by the author to re-evaluate Brazil’s dependence on arms exports. While certainly important, the export-dependence argument has been overstated. Indeed, a fall in demand in the late 1980s led to a major decrease in Brazilian arms exports. However, the state managed to absorb a significant part of the production until mid-1990s. The data on domestic procurement sheds new light on institutional explanations for Brazil’s arms industry crisis.


Keywords


Arms industry; exports; domestic procurement; Brazil

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15355/epsj.15.1.31

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