Some of the 13 million families in Brazil’s Bolsa Familia program, for instance, can now access microcredit and job training so they can “make their own living,” says Bank economist Anna Fruttero. The effort is “still experimental,” she says.
The Bolsa Familia program costs about 0.5% of GDP and covers 25% of the population. It is considered a key part of a strategy to create a “Brazil without Misery,” where everyone has access to health, education, housing, water and sanitation. “Income transfer programs, as important as they are, are just one block” of the strategy, says Fruttero. While they have shown to be an important instrument in reducing poverty they are not enough to completely eradicate it, she says.
Still, researchers in fast-growing Brazil say Bolsa Familia and related programs have contributed about 25% of a reduction in income inequality in the country.