Bolsa unFAMILIAr: Pathways’ Perspective #9

Senior Social Policy Specialists Stephen Kidd and Karishma Huda write about the misconceptions of Brazil’s conditional cash transfer, Bolsa Familia, in the latest Pathways’ Perspective.

Perpective #9 assesses the evidence on Brazil’s social security system, examining the beneficiary numbers, budgets, levels of benefits and, importantly, impacts and coverage of the main social security schemes in Brazil. It reveals that the real hero driving down poverty and inequality in Brazil is the old age pension paid at the level of the minimum wage. The paper will also examine proposals to transform Bolsa Familia – currently an old-fashioned poor relief programme – into a real hero of social security, in other words a truly progressive entitlement-based scheme.


While Development Pathways may not necessarily agree with the views of the authors, we believe it is important to give people space to express their opinions.

About the Author

Stephen Kidd is a Senior Social Policy Specialist at Development Pathways. While he loves stories about dragons, goblins and knights of old, he believes that debates on social policy should be firmly rooted in evidence rather than myths.

Karishma Huda is a Senior Social Policy Specialist at Development Pathways. She wanted to go to Brazil to see the Carnival, but couldn’t afford it. So, writing this paper was the next best option.

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