Cash Transfer and Social Assistance Policies Devised As Means to Improve the Consume of the Poorest in Brics Countries

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal 34 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Soraya CORTES, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
The institutional history, macro politics and the ideas supported by decision-makers of particular policy areas can promote shifts in policies that go beyond incremental changes. Ideas supported by sectorial policy communities, with enough political power to promote their proposals, usually generate only marginal adjustment in policies, since institutional legacy and macro politics tend to exert decisive influence over policies. However, occasionally ideas can create fundamental change (Baumgartner, 2012).

The paper analyses the convergences and contrasts in policies promoted by governments of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – the Brics countries – aiming to integrate the poorest in a consumer society and to reduce socioeconomic inequalities, during the last 15 years. It highlights the role of cash transfer policies – that played a major role in Brazil, India and South Africa – and social assistance policies – more relevant in Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa – to make a comparison of the ideas – values, justifications, intended objectives – sustaining these policies in the five countries. It also examines major changes and tendencies in such policies in the period. The analysis places such policies in the broader framework; since each of these countries’ governments has implemented distinct macro policies (in which cash transfer and social assistance played different role) aiming to fully integrate the poorest in a consumer society. The analysis is based in a systematic review of the literature and governments’ documents on these themes.

Baumgartner FR. 2013. Ideas and Policy Change Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, 26 (2): 239–258.