Social Protection, Economic Growth and Social Change
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Social Protection, Economic Growth and Social Change

Goals, Issues and Trajectories in China, India, Brazil and South Africa

Edited by James Midgley and David Piachaud

This highly original and thought-provoking book examines the recent expansion of social protection in China, India, Brazil and South Africa – four countries experiencing rapid economic growth and social change.
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Chapter 10: The efficiency and effectiveness of social protection against poverty and inequality in Brazil

Sergei Soares


The previous chapter in this book has made it clear that, albeit through sometimes arduous means, in 2012 Brazil has a social protection system that offers protection against the main vulnerabilities that afflict individuals and families. Leaving aside the provision of health, education and social services and concentrating only on income transfers, Brazil still has a system that is reasonably comprehensive. Social insurance provides generous protection to formal workers and their families against a lack of income due to old age, serious disease, disability or the death of a family breadwinner. Social assistance provides less generous protection to those in poverty who are suffering income deprivation due to old age or disability and it offers even less to those simply living in poverty. The objective of this chapter is to measure the impact of this protection on poverty and inequality. Of course, fighting poverty and inequality is not the sole objective of the Brazilian social protection system – if it were, it would be difficult to justify generous social insurance pensions to individuals in families well above the poverty line, let alone excuse pensions that increase rather than decrease inequality.

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