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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the role that public policy initiatives—specifically anti-poverty transfers—have played in the reduction of poverty and inequality in Brazil. A number of anti-poverty initiatives are considered in turn, and not just the widely known Bolsa Familia conditional cash transfer program. The analysis establishes that such transfers—including conditional cash transfers—have proved surprisingly effective, even helping to tackle long-standing income inequality. It is recognized that explicit anti-poverty initiatives were not the only drivers of the reduced incidence of poverty and inequality: factors such as growth and improved access to labor markets also played a role. However, progress is now threatened by the recent economic and political crisis.

Keywords: Brazil, poverty, inequality, income inequality, cash transfers, growth

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