Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January, vowing to get the nation’s economy moving again after a four-year slump. Key to keeping that promise was his decision to name Paulo Guedes, a free-market economist and banker with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, as minister of the economy. Bolsonaro has called Guedes his “posto ipiranga”—a full-service gas station—on all economic matters. Guedes serves as the point person on Bolsonaro’s politically controversial effort to reform Brazil’s pension system, which absorbs more than a third of federal tax revenues and is a major driver of the government’s budget deficit.
On Thursday, April 11, the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings hosted Minister Guedes for an update on the Brazilian economy and the government’s economic agenda. Following his remarks, he was interviewed by David Wessel, senior fellow and director of the Hutchins Center, and also answered questions from the audience.