Institutional change and state-owned enterprises: reflections from the Petrobras case study

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The Brazilian oil and gas (O&G) sector has experienced institutional changes that put an end to the state monopoly. The purpose of this article is to explain why Petrobras has remained dominant after the sector had been opened to competition. We consider that it is possible to explain this paradox via two ideas that emanate from North’s analysis on institutional change: first, by explaining institutional change as a continuous interrelation between formal and informal institutions and the political and economic organizations involved; second, by considering institutional change as a path-dependent process marked by a dialectic between elements of change and continuity.
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