Preferences Regarding the Vertical Distribution of Authority in Brazil: On Measurement and Determinants


This article examines individual preferences toward the vertical distribution of authority in Brazil by means of a representative national survey. We propose an original methodology to tackle two challenges the current literature faces: the effects of multipolarity over voters’ preferences and the conflation of two concepts—“wishes for change” and “preferences over the architecture of the state—both concerning attitudes toward the vertical distribution of authority. We test various theories concerning the importance of territorial identity, socio-demographic factors, and geography of income in determining individual preferences regarding vertical distribution of authority. We find that in Brazil territorial identity does not play a role in determining preferences, whereas socioeconomic status and within-regions inequality do matter, suggesting that Brazil is a type of federation where a dual identity (belonging to one’s region and the national state) prevails as well as within- and cross-region inequality.

Publius: The Journal of Federalism