Claire Debucquois: Law and Natural Resource Allocation: A Brazilian Perspective

Law and Natural Resource Allocation: A Brazilian Perspective

Claire Debucquois

The paper builds upon Braudel’s image of the historical alliance between the merchant and the prince, regarded as a key mainstay for capitalist development. It argues that the lawmaking and institutional entrenchment at stake in the market construction keep reflecting the relationship of mutual dependence systematically at play between the merchants—that is, the biggest players in the market, in quest for monopoly situations—and the state, or successive governments. Animated by varying, partly aligned and partly divergent interests and objectives, yet relying on each other for law-shaping and policy-carrying purposes, those actors engage in complex and continuous processes of cooperation and competition (‘coopetition’) that are constantly renegotiated through an array of strategies, and of which law is at once a product and a platform. Their power relations are constrained by previous institutional stratification yet also structure the legal and institutional architecture of the marketplace—and by the same token impact distributional patterns, hence inequality. Debucquois’ research sets out to test those hypotheses through an analysis of the determinants of land concentration in Brazil, which has been—and remains to a large extent—a paradigm of unequal resource distribution assorted with sweeping societal implications. To illustrate the coopetition relationship between the state and the merchants and the quest for monopoly that is arguably at its heart, the papers develop a specific and critical account of the legal interventions framing land allocation and investment in the country, as well as the key institutions gravitating around them.

Claire Debucquois is writing her dissertation on the legal and institutional architecture of the marketplace, drawing upon the case of land allocation and transnational land deals in Brazil. Claire holds BA, MA, and advanced master degrees in law, philosophy, and economics from several universities in Belgium and the Netherlands. She specialized in comparative and international law, and development economics. She has been a visiting scholar at Pantheon-Sorbonne University and the Max Planck/Sciences Po Center in Paris, and at McGill University in Montreal. Claire volunteered in the education and asylum aid sectors in Ecuador, the UK, and Italy, worked in the fields of public policy evaluation and migration law in Berlin, and interned with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. She was a researcher under the Belgian science policy program on foreign direct investment and supported the work of the UN Special Rapporteur. Her teaching experience includes a teaching assistantship at the University of Louvain for first-year law students, a guest lecture at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, and language tutorials at Columbia University. Claire’s work has been published in several journals and presented at workshops and conferences in different European countries, as well as in India, Brazil, Canada, and the United States.
She is the recipient of various grants and awards, including the Jacques Falys prize for the best master thesis at Louvain Law School, research grants from the Belgian Academy in Rome, the Camille Liégeois and Françoise-Marie Peemans grants from the Royal Academy of Science, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium, and the Juan Celaya grant on globalization and law from the International Institute for the Sociology of Law.

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