The Brazilian welfare state system

With special reference to the outcomes and performance of the welfare state system

Authored by: Christian Aspalter

The Routledge International Handbook to Welfare State Systems

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9781472449306
eBook ISBN: 9781315613758
Adobe ISBN: 9781317041085


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The Brazilian welfare state system as it is today exhibits some of the worst income inequality and asset inequality in the world. It can be rightfully described as “an ill-fare state that takes from the poor to give to the rich and the well-to-do” (Loundo, 2005: 292). Despite the relative high level of overall state expenditures on social affairs, “most of the social programs are badly focused or ineffective” (Farias, 2003: 43). While social expenditures are focusing on government employees (especially in pensions), the particular type of conditional cash transfer system applied in Brazil (the NET+AMT type) is diagnosed having poverty-increasing side effects over time, and only spends a marginal share of the national welfare state budget (Aspalter, 2016).

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