Going Beyond Bolsa Família to Solve Underdevelopment Problems in the Brazilian Northeast
by Stephanie Gimenez Stahlberg, Stanford University- USA , and former IPC-IG visiting researcher
The Northeast of Brazil was the region with fastest growth in Brazil during its colonial period. However, for the last few centuries it has been the region most affected by poverty and underdevelopment in the country. Some of the challenges the Northeast faces include high poverty and illiteracy rates, poor infrastructure, lack of investment and job creation, poor quality of public goods and services, and governance and democracy problems. This paper describes these problems as well as if the largest conditional cash transfers program, Bolsa Família, has the potential to overcome these challenges. Bolsa Família has increased school enrollment rates and the number of clinic visits, but given the poor quality of these services in the Northeast, the region is missing an important opportunity to invest in human capital. The Northeast needs more than Bolsa Família; it needs good policies and good governance for the region to really grow and develop.
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