recommend that the government increase its investment in education to raise its quality if social inequality and poverty is to be reduced.
Soares et al. explored the impact of Bolsa Familia on inequality, poverty consumption, education, health care and labor force participation. They find that while the program contributed to reduction in extreme poverty and inequality, it also improved education outcomes and have an overall negative impact on labor force participation. However, they argue that Bolsa Familia have failed to impact health and nutrition. The authors also found that exclusion error (under-coverage) of the program stands at 59 percent and its inclusion error (leakage- which could be due to corruption and manipulation of the program) stands at 49 percent.
The authors also found that Bolsa Familia have a clear positive impact on school attendance as it effectively increased attendance and decreased drop-out rates. Their result on health is fascinating and at the same time disappointing. They found that Bolsa Familia had no impact on child immunizations and health check-ups despite conditionalities regarding the matter (Soares et al. 2010, 183). They argue that lack of health services might be a contributing factor to this problem.
Soares in his article “Bolsa Familia, its design, its impacts and possibilities for the future” gave an overall insight into how the program operate and discussed some of the challenges facing the program. Soares argued that apart from the success achieved by the program in areas such as poverty and inequality reductions, several other issues concerning the program remain unsolved.
For one, he claimed that non-existence of ‘exit pathway’ for beneficiaries of the program might make them cultivate a ‘dependency’ culture; lower their human capital; and reduce long-term prospects for such beneficiaries. He highlighted that an extreme solution to this problem would be the imposition of limits on how long a family could stay in the program- as with unemployment benefit while the “less extreme solution would involve investment of more money, time and effort on support for beneficiaries to help them find job or other source of income. This could be done by the government through job training, labor intermediation and microcredit” (Soares 2012, 13).
In relation to electoral incentives resulting from the program, Soares cautioned that such impact of Bolsa Familia “should not be seen as an electoral stunt” (Soares 2012, 27) but rather as the electorate rewarding good government “much the same way that a government that fosters price stability and employment should be rewarded by the electorate for doing so” (Soares 2012, 27). To conclude, he reiterated his claim that Bolsa Familia is not an opportunity generation program since “its articulation to things such as job training or microcredit is relatively weak” (Soares 2012, 30).
Hall pointed out in his article “Brazil’s Bolsa Familia: a double-edged sword?” that although...