Abstract - The Information Society 7(1)

Brazilian Informatics Policy: The High Costs of Building a National Industry

Edward M. Roche

Some of the principal findings of a multiyear research effort examining Brazilian Informatics Policy, its rationale, its implementation, and its effects on users of information and telecommunications technologies are examined. The Brazilian model of national informatics development is based on the market reserve system, a unique and highly protectionist policy that severely limits the importation of foreign information technology and systematically encourages more domestic value-added by Brazilian-owned manufacturers. The study measures expenditures on Brazilian-made and foreign computer equipment, examines what type of applications are being used, and looks at the attitudes of managers of computer systems installations regarding the effects of the Brazilian policy on their day-to-day operations. The analysis also examines how the policy applied to protection of software produced a crisis in bilateral relations between the US and Brazil. The results show that the Brazilian policy has been successful in fostering the development of a computer industry, although a heavy price has been paid by the Brazilian users and externally in Brazil's foreign trade relations.

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