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The results show that over the years these companies had privileged access to the Federal Executive, including civil service agencies. One consequence of this system of channelling demands through the Executive was to demote the Legislative branch to a secondary role. This pattern of interaction changed following the restoration of Congress's decision-making capacity, prompting the sector to diversify its areas of influence, focusing in particular on the Congress.

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The main argument of this article is that foreign policy should be examined through the relations between state and non-state actors in a multitude of decision-making arenas, taking into consideration both domestic and international factors. Key words: State-business relationship; civil construction; foreign policy; company internationalization. Globalization has been altering the relational logic of the main international actors.

Although the scale of its impact on the State's role in the international system remains controversial, there is some degree of consensus in the literature that the major transformations occurring in recent decades in communications, technologies and transportation have altered the international power structure. States have been forced to interact more closely with non-state actors, sharing spaces in national and international decision-making arenas and cooperating to achieve mutual advances.

In defining foreign policy, non-state actors increasingly participate in the state's decisions. Moravcsik asserts: "The liberal state constitutes the critical 'transmission belt' by which the preferences and social power of individuals and groups are translated into foreign policy" MORAVCSIK, , p , p.

Foreign policy is a result of the interactive dynamic between state agents and interest groups, the constant interaction between domestic and international factors, and the balance between the Executive and Legislative Powers MILNER, This article analyses the interactive dynamic between the national business community and the Brazilian state, focusing in particular on the expansion of the international activities of the country's biggest construction firms.

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It seeks to identify the ways in which the interests of companies from this sector are mobilized and organized, while also highlighting the institutional channels created by the national state to capture these demands. Two different analytic approaches are explored. The article analyses both the role performed by the Brazilian government in stimulating the internationalization of civil construction firms, and the ways in which companies from the sector have utilized the country's diplomatic structure to lever new business opportunities abroad.

Finally it looks to identify the causal relations between the phenomena by means of what King, Keohane and Verba call as descriptive inferences. The analysis centres on large companies from the civil construction sector that: The study adopts a qualitative approach, beginning its empirical observation in the s, the moment when the system representing corporate interests linked to the Brazilian state first emerged. A variety of data collection techniques were used.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted to obtain information on situations where the interviewee was personally involved in the process of interest. Since the reconstruction of the narrative from facts obtained across broad time spans can generate vacuums, triangulation techniques were used to resolve potential divergences between spoken discourse, documents and direct observation. Given the qualitative nature of the present study, its findings are not oriented towards generalizing conclusions: rather they look to describe the system through which the interests of national construction firms are represented to the Brazilian state.

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As Brady and Collier have underlined, the strength of such observations resides not in the breadth of the phenomenon examined but in the perception of its processes. This article is structured as follows. The first section presents the literature on the role of multinationals and their interaction with different actors in the context of globalization. It reconstructs the main foreign policy debates resulting from the interaction between domestic and international factors, paying special attention to the business sector's role in this process. The organisation of interest groups and their mechanisms for liaising with the State form the topic of the following section, grounded in pluralist, corporativist and institutional models.

Next the article describes how the study was put into practice. The final section analyses how the national civil construction sector has collectively determined its preferences and channelled its demands to the government in order to expand its business activities abroad. Studies of foreign policy that disregard domestic policy and its relation to the international environment have increasingly lost their explanatory force. Systemic transformations, quickening in pace since the s especially, have had a decisive impact not only on how foreign policy is formulated and decided, but also on how it is conceived.

More recent studies define foreign policy as the result of multiple conditioning factors originating both internally and externally HILL, In other words, foreign policy involves a complex game between different actors permeated by an immense range of structures located both in the international and domestic systems. The pioneering theoretical formulation of this complex game was presented by Robert Putnam in his study 'Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level-Games' , where he argues that international negotiators play in both arenas, domestic and international, seeking to assure and respond to the interests of domestic actors, while also responding to the constraints and incentives generated by the international system.

Putnam's model also includes actors previously overlooked in studies of international affairs, such as state actors Executive and Legislature and non-state NGOs, interest groups, public opinion. The present study is based on the analytic model presented by Helen Milner in 'Interests, Institutions, and Information' In this model, the main actors are the National Executive, the Legislature, domestic interest groups and the Executive of the foreign country in question.

The interaction between them is mediated by political institutions and also by the preferences of domestic actors and the distribution of information. The model's key premise, based on rational choice theory, is that the preferences of political actors are a function of electoral calculations, while those of economic groups derive from the distributive consequences of political action at international level. Hence politicians with electoral objectives should establish policies that converge with the preferences of economic groups, while avoiding taking decisions that may lead to electoral losses.

As well as the preferences of domestic actors, another two key variables are utilized by the author: domestic political institutions and the distribution of information. The first involves identifying how political and electoral systems can influence the participation of these actors in foreign policy matters: the higher the number of veto players, the more difficult the negotiations will be due to the multiple preferences, highlighting the polyarchic nature of foreign policy. The model also predicts that interest groups will provide technical information to the Legislature, enabling the latter to participate more assertively in foreign policy affairs.

Millner suggests that the Executive possesses privileged technical information due to its role in formulating and executing foreign policy.


This in turn generates an inevitable information imbalance between the Powers. In order for their interests to be represented, economic groups will seek to influence the Legislative branch, submitting detailed technical information on topics being discussed in international negotiations. This initiative tends to rebalance information, favoring a more horizontal decision-making environment. Otherwise — when the information remains concentrated in the Executive — the tendency will be for an information imbalance to persist between the powers.

Consequently, the effect of the distribution of information depends on the structure of preferences and political institutions, with interest groups playing a crucial role in this process. The present study empirically tested Milner's model for the Brazilian case, seeking to examine the construction of domestic preferences, the organizational forms taken by the economic interest groups and their impacts on political representation.

Next it is foregrounded the institutional permeability of the Brazilian state to the demands of Brazilian construction firms in relation to foreign policy. Two perspectives stand out when it comes to the analysis of the formation of preferences among economic groups. The pluralist approach is founded on the premise that when political decisions concern redistributive policies, which inevitably generate 'winners and losers' with conflicting interests, many interest groups will try to influence the decision-making process, forming antagonistic coalitions.

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This approach assumes that the interest groups have individual freedom of association and distinct forms of mobilization that enables them to make effective inputs to the decision-making process ALMOND and POWEL, Interest groups have a distinct capacity to affect the decision-making dynamic since the latter depends on the readiness of these groups to provide information and resources. Additionally, the strategies adopted by interest groups in terms of channelling demands to political agents also affect the outcome of the 'game'.

The institutional approach in turn argues that the incentives and constraints that affect interest groups and their mobilization can be seen as outputs rather than inputs of the decision-making process. Schmitter identified patterns of representation in Latin American countries that diverged from those observed in European and American democracies: institutionalized, centralized and hierarchical forms of direct interaction between state and society, corresponding to the model denominated 'state corporativism'.

This type of arrangement presumes the obligatory contribution of non-state actors to financing the structure of representation, such as, for example, the compulsory fee charged by syndicates, which characterizes the non-voluntary aspect of the mobilization of interests. O'Donnell also looked to understand the phenomenon of corporatism in contrast to pluralist theories, seeking to highlight explanatory variables that went beyond the idea of authoritarian States, arguing that the development of industrial capitalism and the profile of the State also influence the organizational form of interest groups.

He argued that political, economic and social contexts can lead to subtypes of corporatist arrangements. Complementing this approach, Lehmbruch argues that contemporary structural transformations could lead to the emergence of new structures of representing and mediating interests. The concept of neo corporatism opens up space for interpretations capable of elucidating configurations at other levels of representation: macro, meso and micro CAWSON, The state was responsible for creating a structure of dialogue with the diverse economic sectors, defining the form of organized representation and the possibilities for interaction.

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Business interests began to be structured in a pyramidal form: national confederations at the summit — in direct communication with the government — followed lower down by state federations, and finally regional associations and syndicates at the base LEOPOLDI, The dissatisfaction of marginalized economic groups and the diversity of business interests gave rise to new and more plural forms of organized representation.

This fragmentation intensified under the military dictatorship, a period which saw the selective admission of some economic groups into decision-making arrangements with the top tier of government, a phenomenon theoretically labelled 'bureaucratic loops' CARDOSO, Changes in this pattern of interaction became more perceptible after the s in Brazil and in the international system more generally.

The policy of economic liberalization led to an intensification of competition, mobilizing different sectors, whether keen to protect themselves from competition or interested in expanding the activities into new markets. The return to democracy also permitted a revival of spaces of dialogue between the state and society, including the National Congress, making the institutional possibilities for channelling demands, previously strong concentrated in the Executive, more widely available.

In this context, as Mancuso and Gozetto point out, lobbying — though not yet regulated in Brazil — frequently became employed as a pressure tool, combined with the influence exerted by economic groups in the election of politicians via campaign funding or by fielding their own candidates. It was also within this new competitive scenario that, according to Oliveira , a turning point occurred in the participation of Brazilian business in international trade deals.

The model proposed by Helen Milner also recommends observing the characteristics of institutions since the latter may either attract or repel the approximation of non-state actors, depending on the degree of permeability and the decision-making capacity of the political actors. Questions concerning horizontal mechanisms of accountability in the relations between the government branches in the making of foreign policy have been a common theme among Brazilian analysts.

On one hand the bureaucratic isolation and the pre-eminence of the Executive are seen to have helped ensure the efficiency of the process due to its centralization and the ability to respond more quickly to emerging problems, as well as providing continuity to the framework set by the diplomatic agenda due to the distance maintained from conflicting political interests. On the other hand, though, the Legislative branch's limited involvement in foreign policy decisions, combined with instruments that exacerbated the imbalance between the government branches in the Executive's favour, resulted in the limited democratic representativeness of Brazil's international policy decisions.

In addition to the spaces of dialogue between government and society created in this context of trade liberalization, there was also an expansion in inter-ministerial committees, oriented toward a more horizontal decision-making dynamic FIGUEIRA, These changes led, on one hand, to a fragmentation of the decision-making process and the intensification of disputes between different bureaucratic structures and, on the other, to the diversification of the spaces of dialogue with society, making the content of policies more permeable and convergent with the multitude of different demands.

In sum, contemporary Brazil presents a hybrid structure to the organization of business interests, containing both elements of state corporatism and also more plural and horizontal forms of representation. In institutional terms, the Executive and Legislature act in an unbalanced form in the area of foreign policy.

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Studying changes in the behaviour of these factors through case studies can thus contribute to a clearer understanding of the mechanisms employed to represent interests in Brazil. The activities of the heavy construction industry in Brazil began in the second half of the nineteenth century, a moment of transition from the slave economy to capitalism. This first phase of the heavy construction industry in Brazil spanned between and , a model based on urban-industrial infrastructural works that entrenched national dependency since most of the firms contracted were foreign CAMPOS, Another outcome of this historical moment was the formation of a corporatist system for representing interests of syndicates and owners linked to the Brazilian State, tying "syndicalism to the State and the laws of the Republic" Decree The argument for this government intrusion into the life of associations resided in the idea of "reducing conflicts and reconciling interests during a period of waning oligarchical power, a rise in new business sectors and pressure from the popular classes" RODRIGUES, , p , p.

In this context, the Legislative branch diminished in importance as a tool for channelling the interests of society to the political sphere — that is, the creation of a space of official dialogue between the Executive, the business sector and workers pushed the historical role of Congress in representing interests in Brazil into the background RODRIGUES, In the words of Campos , the syndicate acted almost as a kind of contractors' party, winning numerous battles over its history.

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Hence the expansion of the construction market created the conditions for national constructors to leave their regions and begin to execute works at a national level, principally in the implementation of highway and electricity policies, which intensified under the Juscelino Kubitschek government. New legislation concerning government contracts, elaborated during the period of military dictatorship, also enabled increasing monopolization within the heavy construction industry CAMARGOS, One important landmark was Decree In this event, a consortium had to be formed with participation of national firms so as to ensure technology transfer.