WP 16: Rentier income and mass-based financialisation: the limits of redistributive policies during the Pink Tide in Brazil
The article aims to examine the role of the rentiers in the distributive conflict in a peripheral financialised economy, focusing on the case of Brazil. To do so, it estimates, for the period between 2000 and 2019, an expanded functional distribution of income that includes not only wages and profits but also rentier and government income. It also provides an interpretation of the political economy determinants of the movements of the different shares of income. Such an effort contributes both to the ongoing effort to analyse the role of rentiers in Global South countries and to the extant literature on financialisation in peripheral economies. Specifically, it shows that the redistributive effort undertaken by the Workers’ Party government (2000–2016) could not increase the wage share of income, as the establishment of mass-based financialisation implied a growing transfer of income from worker households to rentiers – a process of financial expropriation. The Brazilian experience highlights the plasticity of rentier income and the challenges to reducing inequality in increasingly financialised contexts.