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Publication(Washington, DC, 2004) World BankThis study addresses three questions : why do inequalities matter for Brazil's development? Why does Brazil occupy a position of very high inequality in the international community? And, What should public policy do about it? Excessive income inequality is unfair, and undesirable on ethical grounds, and can bring adverse effects on economic growth, health outcomes, social cohesion, and crime. Brazil's excessive income inequality is associated to regressive public transfers, less equitable distribution of education, and higher wage differentials. It is thus suggested that Brazil's strategy to fight inequality should focus on four areas that are good for reducing inequality, good for reducing poverty, and good for increasing efficiency, competitiveness, and growth: raising the level, and reducing the inequities of educational attainment, reducing the wage skill premium of post-secondary education, reallocating public expenditure away from excessive, and regressive transfers, and taking advantage of the opportunity to implement an indirect tax reform, that can reduce the inequity of indirect taxation. Despite the absence of explicit tradeoffs between equity, and efficiency, these policies do not benefit everyone, and they do involve inevitable political choices.
Publication(Washington, DC, 2003-06) World BankThe objective of this report is to design an integrated strategy for rural poverty reduction in Brazil. It contains an updated and detailed profile of the rural poor in the northeast and southeast regions of Brazil; identifies key determinants of rural poverty in these regions; and proposes a five-pronged strategic framework and a tentative set of policy options. The latter were identified via an analysis of rural poverty determinants complemented with an evaluation of relevant current public programs and six in-depth thematic studies: (a) the dynamics of the Brazilian small farm sector, (b) rural labor markets, (c) rural land markets, (d) rural non-farm employment, (e) rural education, and (f) rural pensions.
Publication(Washington, DC, 2002-03) World BankBrazil has put significant resources into developing its higher education system over the past three decades. As a result, a system has evolved in which some institutions have achieved recognizable excellence in teaching and research, while, more generally, the majority of institutions have struggled to provide relevant, quality education at reasonable cost. As a whole, the system has a number of large challenges to overcome. Brazil has a low enrolment rate in higher education. Rigidities in funding and regulation create strong disincentives for cost-efficiency or quality. The quality of instruction and the relevance of the curriculum are below desirable standards. The Government of Brazil has a three-pronged strategy for improving higher education: a) to change the legal framework for the sector; b) to change to a performance-based funding system that supports the Ministerio da Educacao e do Esporto's (MEC) policy goals of improved access, quality, and efficiency; and c) to improve capacity for evaluating quality of instruction and performance of institutions. The challenge is to focus attention on those changes that will promote the greatest progress in equitable access, quality, relevance, and efficiency. Finally, the report recommends ways to improve access, quality, and efficiency.
Publication(Washington, DC, 2001-05) World BankSocial security is the single most important fiscal issue facing the Brazilian government today. This report summarizes the state, and potential policy implications, of the Brazilian Social security system. It also discusses policy recommendations for: social security and pensions, the national social security system, government pensions and funds, and the complementary pension systems. An overview of the social security challenge reviews the system components, revealing unsustainable fiscal imbalances and administrative weaknesses in both the unreformed General Regime for Social Security (RGPS), and the Pension Regime for Government Workers (RJU), with large tax-related distortions, and labor market inefficiency. Thus the goals of Brazil's reforms are to reduce fiscal deficits, lower actuarial imbalances, increase equity and redistribution, reduce collateral inefficiencies, and facilitate growth of funded pensions. The study implies there is no recourse for the country, but to lower the high, uniform replacement rates (experience suggests that rates higher than 40-70 percent, cannot be sustained). The key to effective reform of social security is widening the debate to include potential winners from these changes, particularly the private sector, the young, and the poor. Policy recommendations suggest that the adverse equity effects of RGPS reforms should be widely publicized to generate political support for deeper RJU reform.