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Brazil's Bolsa Família: A Review

After describing the origin, the main features and some of the impacts of Bolsa Família, a conditional cash transfer family welfare programme that has become one of Brazil's showpiece achievements, this essay discusses the changes in the programme over time as well as the current and future challenges. The article outlines the circumstances that led to its adoption by the federal government and how its final design was influenced by all "competing views", rather than by the thinking of a specific interest group. Bolsa Família has demonstrated a flexibility to adapt to the needs of the times, a quality that should stand it in good stead in the years to come.


Vitalícia (RMV), a pension paid to the elderly Brazil’s Bolsa Família: A Review poor and the disabled. Both programmes were introduced during the authoritarian regime in the 1970s. The 1988 constitution Fabio Veras Soares broadened and upgraded these programmes

After describing the origin, the main features and some of the impacts of Bolsa Família, a conditional cash transfer family welfare programme that has become one of Brazil’s showpiece achievements, this essay discusses the changes in the programme over time as well as the current and future challenges. The article outlines the circumstances that led to its adoption by the federal government and how its final design was influenced by all “competing views”, rather than by the thinking of a specific interest group. Bolsa Família has demonstrated a flexibility to adapt to the needs of the times, a quality that should stand it in good stead in the years to come.

Fabio Veras Soares ( is at the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, Brasilia, and the Institute for Applied Economic Research, Brasilia, Brazil.

1 Introduction

his article aims to describe the origin, the main characteristics and some of the impacts of Bolsa Família, a Brazilian conditional cash transfer (CCT) family welfare programme, to understand its changes over time as well as the challenges it faces now and in the future. We outline the circumstances that led to its adoption by the federal government and discuss which “approaches” were more influential in its final design. It is important to bear in mind that, as is usual in public policy, the final design of the programme was influenced by all “competing views” rather than by the thinking of a specific interest group. The inception of Bolsa Família came at the end of a relatively long process. From 1995, with initial experiences at the sub-national level, to its actual implementation in 2003, it took a long time and lots of pressure for the federal government to first decide to adopt the programme and then to implement it on a large scale. The evolution of Bolsa Família is the story of a fight for legitimacy in the sphere of social protection policies in Brazil. That the programme is not embedded as a right has lent it the flexibility to adapt but also brought it under more scrutiny and accusations of being used for political purposes than any other social assistance or protection project in the country.

Following the Latin American tradition, contributory social insurance had been a dominant feature of social protection in Brazil since the 1930s. But protecting only formal sector workers excluded the majority of the population from any negative shock. Social assistance, understood as non-contributory benefits, was almost non-existent, and what was there was mostly based on in-kind transfers of a philanthropic nature. It only started being implemented on a reasonable scale with the introduction of two non-contributory benefits – the Fundo de Assistência Previdência do Trabalhador Rural (FUNRURAL), a pension for the elderly heads of households in rural areas, and Renda Mensal and the value of their benefits. The Benefício de Prestação Continuada (Continuous Benefits), which replaced the RMV, and the earlier rural pension pay minimum wages to their beneficiaries and have been responsible for the negligible poverty rate among the elderly in Brazil.

The focus of these two major noncontributory cash transfer programmes, which have budgets larger than the one Bolsa Família has, was those who were not able to work and whose relatives could not help them. The innovation that came with Bolsa Família in the field of cash transfers had three features – a focus on family, not individual, entitlements despite specific components for children; the introduction of co-responsibilities or conditionalities; and the possibility of having “able-bodied” beneficiaries. Unlike the two other cash transfer programmes, Bolsa Família aimed to complement the family income rather than replace it. CCT programmes in Latin America share some core characteristics such as the existence of targeting mechanisms; the notion of coresponsibilities, especially in health and education, to foster the accumulation of human capital by children; and the practice of payments being made in cash. These are apart from the two core objectives of poverty alleviation in the shortterm and of breaking the intergenerational transmission of poverty in the long term. But CCT programmes also differ a great deal from one another. The distinctions are mostly determined by two basic criteria

– the emphasis placed on each of the CCT goals and the way programmes are positioned in the social protection system of each country.

Bolsa Família clearly emphasises the poverty alleviation component whereas other programmes such as Oportunidades, a health and education scheme in Mexico with a strong focus on conditionalities, focus on the goal of human capital accumulation of the next generation. Different from Bolsa Família and Oportunidades, Chile Solidario, with a strong focus on support for indigent families and complementary

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programmes, looks more at the social and economic inclusion of the current generation, stressing its need to facilitate the access of beneficiaries to social services and programmes.

2 Origin of Bolsa Família

The first experiments with CCT programmes in Brazil were undertaken at the sub-national level in 1995 in the Federal District and Campinas and later spread to many medium to large cities in the country as local government initiatives. There was a strong influence on them of the discourse attached to Senator Eduardo Suplicy’s Guaranteed Basic Income proposal, but unlike the proposal, most of them were targeted and had a set of conditionalities attached to them. These local experiments were a major source of inspiration for the CCTs that preceded the Bolsa Familia programme at the federal level. In 1995, the Programa Bolsa Famíliar para a Educação (Family Grant Programme for Education) in the Federal District targeted children in poor families (per capita income below one minimum wage) who were between seven and 14 years and paid one minimum wage to a family on the condition that its children have an attendance of 90% in school. This programme had two interesting components that were not common in other CCTs – vocational training courses for parents; and savings accounts for beneficiary children that could only be withdrawn at the end of secondary school. Note that despite having a specific component for adults (parents), this programme only covered families with school-age children. In the same year, the Programa de Garantia de Renda Familiar Mínima (Minimum Income Guarantee Programme) in Campinas (São Paulo state) covered families in extreme poverty with children up to 14 years of age. Aside from education, there were other co-responsibilities related to health and to attending socioeducational meetings,1 conducted every month by psychologists and social workers (Draibe 2006).

The first CCT implemented by the federal government was in 1996. The Programa para a Erradicação do Trabalho Infantil (PETI, Programme for the Eradication of Child Labour) was originally implemented only in a few municipalities where children were at risk of working in hazardous occupations such as charcoal production, artisan fishing and sisal growing. The requirement was that the children attend school, and besides the cash transfer, municipalities also received funds to implement socio-educative activities in the extra shift that the children stayed at school (Soares and Satyro 2009). In 1997, the Congress approved legislation authorising the federal government to cover up to 50% of the cost of guaranteed minimum income programmes linked to education implemented by municipalities whose per capita income and tax revenues were below the average of their state. This programme was called Programa de Renda Mínima (PRM, Minimum Income Programme). That the federal government contribution was limited to 50% led to low uptake by municipalities. By 1999, only 150 municipalities had joined the programme, whereas the target for the year was 1,254 municipalities (Fonseca 2001). But the programme picked up speed in 2000 and reached 1,373 municipalities out of 5,564, covering 8,79,971 beneficiary families and 17,28,263 children aged between seven and 14 years (Sposati 2010).

Building on the expansion of the PRM, CCTs linked to education for school-age children became the dominant model with the creation of Bolsa Escola (School Welfare programme) in February 2001 under the purview of the Ministry of Education. This programme targeted poor families (with a per capita income less than half the minimum wage) and children aged between six and 15 years. Later that year, two other cash transfer programmes were created, Bolsa Alimentação by the Ministry of Health, a food grant for poor families with children up to six years and/or pregnant women, and Auxílio Gás (cooking gas aid), an unconditional benefit to compensate poor families for phasing out the cooking gas subsidy. The funding for these CCTs came from the Fund for Fighting and Eradicating Poverty that was created by a Special Joint Commission on Poverty of the Congress through a constitutional amendment. According to Britto and Soares (2011), debates and public hearings conducted by the Joint Commission helped to create a political consensus around the idea

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that CCT programmes were the best policy to fight poverty in the country.

In January 2003, at the beginning of the Luís Inácio Lula da Silva administration, Brazil had three CCTs programmes at the federal level (Bolsa Escola, Bolsa Alimentação and PETI) and an unconditional transfer, Auxílio-Gás, all targeted at similar social groups. The Workers’ Party manifesto and the transition team that worked for the newly elected Lula government during the last two months of Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration recommended the merger of the existing programmes (Cotta 2009). Their view was that different executing agencies, different information systems and diverse funding sources led to low integration among the programmes, with overlapping and duplication of effort, which brought about a situation where some families could legally receive multiple benefits while other potentially eligible families were excluded.

However, in February 2003, the second month of the Lula administration, a new cash transfer programme was created, the Cartão Alimentação (food card), under the responsibility of the newly created Ministry of Food Security (MESA, Ministério Extraordinário da Segurança Alimentar). This ministry sought to implement the Fome Zero (Zero Hunger) programme, developed in 2001 by Instituto Cidadania, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) linked to the Workers’ Party. The Cartão Alimentação was created with a view to stimulating demand for food in municipalities with low human development in the semi-arid north-east. It was designed as a temporary intervention to last only two years and without education and health-related conditionalities.2 The food stamps model adopted for the programme, in which the money could be spent only on food items and proof of such expenditure had to be given to local managers by the beneficiaries, was heavily criticised by academics, policymakers and the media (Cotta 2009). So the programme became politically and operationally weak and pressure within the government to unify all the other programmes and revise the Hunger Zero strategy increased.

The debate around the coordination of the different cash transfer programmes and the use of a single registry led to the

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recreation of a Social Policy Committee under the coordination of the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Presidency (Casa Civil). This committee ended up recommending the unification of the programmes under Bolsa Família. In mid-2003, a working group was set up to design a unified cash transfer programme. The initial design of Bolsa Família reflected a compromise among different views of what this unified programme had to be. These different views within the government could be roughly grouped into four – a human development approach that advocated a strengthening of the conditionalities on both health and education; an education approach that emphasised the education component of CCTs and did not want it merged with other programmes (they wanted Bolsa Escola to continue under the Ministry of Education); a Citizenship Basic Income approach that did not want conditionalities and saw Bolsa Família as a first step in the implementation of the basic income; and a food and nutritional security approach that wanted the objectives of the initial Zero Hunger programme and some features of the design of the Cartão Alimentação to be embedded in the Bolsa Família design (Cotta 2009; Tomazini 2010). The final design of the programme revealed the hegemony of the human development and basic income approaches, but the other groups also had a degree of success in incorporating some of their views in the objectives of Bolsa Família.

The law and decrees that introduced and regulated Bolsa Família stated their objectives both in terms of the parameters for the unification of the existing cash transfers based on administrative objectives (for example, to promote access to social services) and on the outcomes of the programme (for example, to reduce poverty and improve food security) (Bastagli 2008). The objectives are:

  • (1) To promote access to the network of public services, especially health, education and social assistance; (2) to fight hunger and promote food and nutritional security (in line with the Zero Hunger strategy);
  • (3) to stimulate the sustained emancipation of families that live in poverty or extreme poverty; (4) to fight poverty; and (5) to promote inter-sectorality, complementarity
  • and synergies among policies at different government levels.

    The unification of the programmes led to a streamlining of processes, made possible by effectively merging and unifying the registries used by the programmes and the standardisation of eligibility criteria for the benefits under a single executive agency, the Secretariat for Citizenship Income3 within the Ministry of Social Development (MDS). It also stated that its target was to cover all the poor, estimated as 11.1 million families, according to a cross-sectional estimation based on the PNAD 2001 (annual household survey). This represented an innovation as most previous CCT programmes did not have a clear target, let alone a goal of covering all the poor in the country (Cotta and Paiva 2010).

    3 Bolsa Família’s Main Features

    Bolsa Família is the only CCT programme in Latin America that does not use any proxy means test formula for the selection of beneficiaries. Eligibility4 and the structure of the benefits are determined by selfreported family per capita income and the number of children and teenagers in a household. A family with a per capita income below the extreme poverty line is entitled to a basic benefit, currently set at R$70 ($44.30)5 independent of the number of children. Families between the extreme poverty line and the poverty line, set at R$140 ($88.60), are only entitled to a variable benefit linked to the presence of children, R$32 ($21) per child up to 15 years old with a limit of three children. Adolescents between 16 and 17 years are entitled to a youth benefit of R$38 ($24) per person, subject to a limit of two per family.6 As such, the maximum amount a family can receive from the programme is R$242 ($153) if it is extremely poor and has three children and two teenagers. As per administrative information, the average paid to a family is R$115 ($73).

    The information on the income of family members and its different sources is collected and registered in the Cadastro Único de Programas Sociais (CadÚnico), or single registry, together with other socio-economic and demographic information on the families. Bolsa Família relies heavily on the skills of municipal managers and social workers when actively looking for those who could be registered in the single registry. The single registry is a large database that gathers information on potential beneficiaries not only for Bolsa Família, but also for other targeted social programmes. Families with a per capita income of half the minimum wage or a total income of three minimum wages – a higher eligibility cut-off point than the one of Bolsa Família

    – have to be registered in the single registry. Despite the programme’s objectives and modus operandi being determined at the federal level, states and, particularly, municipalities play an important role in its implementation and can top up the transfers and use the single registry to provide complementary programmes to beneficiaries. The municipalities sign an agreement with the federal government in which their responsibilities are clearly stated. This approach is called a “shared management model” (gestão compartilhada) and is recognised as one of the key factors behind the consolidation of the single registry and the programme’s rapid expansion. Besides being responsible for registering families in the single registry, the municipalities are also responsible for following up on compliance with co-responsibilities and uploading the information to the health and education ministries.

    To help the municipalities in the implementation of these activities, the federal government transfers some resources to them on a monthly basis. This financial incentive is based on the decentralised management index (IGD), ranging from 0 to 1, which reflects a simple average of two indicators of the quality of the information in the single registry – the proportion of valid entries (complete information) and updated information (less than two years old); and of two indicators of the coverage of the conditionality monitoring, one for education and another for health. The higher the IGD, the higher the budget the municipality receives to support the activities related to programme implementation. The IGD is multiplied by the number of beneficiaries in the programme to determine the amount to be transferred. The budget must be used in the implementation of the programme, but the municipalities are free to choose how to do so. For example, they can buy computers,

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    improve the facilities where a Bolsa Família unit works, implement complementary programmes, and so on.

    The fulfilment of co-responsibilities is reported by schools (85% of school attendance per month) and health units (regular visits to health centres and following the immunisation calendar according to the Ministry of Health protocol) at the municipal level. This information is transmitted to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, respectively, which are responsible for consolidating the information and reporting to the MDS. With regard to education, the conditionality is reported every two months and for healthcare, every six months. If families fail to comply with conditionalities, they undergo a process of “gradual repercussion” (repercussão gradativa), which is another feature that distinguishes Bolsa Família from most other CCT programmes.7 The “gradual repercussion” follows five stages. First, the family receives a notification. Next, the benefit is blocked for 30 days; then payment is suspended for two months; and if the conditionality is still not satisfied, suspended for two additional months. Only in the fifth stage is the benefit cancelled. For non-compliant families with adolescents, the fourth step, that is, the suspension of benefits for two months a second time, is skipped. However, in this case, only the benefits linked to the young members aged 16 and 17 are cancelled.

    Interesting Feature

    One interesting feature of the Bolsa Família design, which has only recently been implemented, is the idea that noncompliance with co-responsibilities is a sign that a family faces an additional vulnerability. A social worker should verify the reasons for the family failing to uphold the co-responsibilities and also help it to overcome these difficulties. This social worker should be linked to a CRAS, or Social Assistance Reference Centre,8 or to a CRAS Specialised Social Assistance Reference Centre.9 This component was strengthened in September 2009 by creating an intergovernmental and inter-sectoral forum to monitor co-responsibilities, bringing together representatives of the three levels of government (federal, state and municipal) and from the three areas most closely related to the programme, education, health and social assistance. The two major challenges to this process are to increase the proportion of families with health co-responsibilities monitored every six months, which now stands at 67.5%10 (Curralero et al 2010) and to increase the number of families assisted by a CRAS when they fail to fulfil co-responsibilities.11

    Dynamic Measure of Poverty

    If gradual repercussions gradually lead to relatively few programme cancellations, the eligibility criteria, based on per capita family income, tend to lead to a turnover of beneficiary families. Given the long-term goals of the programme and the volatility of families’ cash income, two important measures have been recently taken. The first is to establish a minimum period of two years during which an eligible family, which is non-compliant because of fluctuations in household income, can remain in the programme without the risk of being cancelled. The second is to increase the number of beneficiaries in the context of poverty reduction. In 2009, the ceiling of 11.1 million beneficiaries was revised upwards despite a fall in poverty observed after the programme was introduced. The idea is to make the programme’s target compatible with its objective and help households likely to fall into poverty within a two-year period. This represents a move away from the cross-sectional measurement of poverty to a dynamic measure that takes into account the volatility of the income of the poor.12 The new target is set at 12.9 million families, which includes not only the stock of poor families at a given point of time, but also families that, because of the volatility of their income, are vulnerable and may fall below the poverty line in a period of two years. It is important to note that two years is the validity period of the information provided by families to the single registry. Such a scale of coverage, corresponding to 25% of the population, resulted in an expenditure of about R$13 billion ($8.5 billion) in 2010, which corresponded to 0.4% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) estimated for the year.

    As with social participation, Bolsa Família inherited from the Cartão Alimentação its so-called comitês gestores (managing committees). In its original version, these committees were to have a tripartite composition

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  • government, beneficiaries and civil society
  • which would be in charge of overseeing the implementation process to guarantee transparency in registering potential beneficiaries, and helping to organise the beneficiaries so that they have a voice in the programme and improve collective action. This feature was changed in 2004 due to the difficulty of organising such committees in all municipalities, which hindered the expansion of the programme, and also due to suspicion and fear expressed by local mayors about this new, and in some ways revolutionary, power structure/institution that would be put in place at their level (Silva and Tavares 2010). The management committees were replaced by social accountability units with participation of the government and civil society. The latter are to be in charge of overseeing the implementation of the programme, but there is very little room for direct participation of the beneficiaries as a collective and organised actor.
  • A recent evaluation of these units revealed that in small municipalities there is very little participation of civil society organisations that are truly independent of the local government (Tapajós et al 2010). In addition to the social accountability units at the local level, other institutions at the national level have organised themselves into a network to oversee and monitor the implementation of Bolsa Família. There are three agencies in this network that work at the three levels of government – the Controladoria Geral da União (CGU), the internal audit unit and anticorruption agency of the federal government; the Tribunal de Contas da União (TCU), the federal court of audits; and the Ministério Público (MP), the public prosecutor. This network has helped the programme with recommendations based on assessments of its implementation that have led to improvements in its norms and regulations to avoid and fight mismanagement, fraud and corruption.

    As for the impact of Bolsa Família,13 the partial result of an evaluation undertaken by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington DC, has been released. Tapajós et al (2010) summarise the main results for the health and education dimensions. In health, there has been some improvement in births with longer gestations, 14.1 percentage points higher for beneficiary pregnant women than nonbeneficiary ones. Also the body mass index is much better among beneficiary children, with the well-nourished among them being

    39.4 percentage points more than nonbeneficiary children. Finally, the proportion of children with updated immunisation is also higher among the beneficiaries. As for education, the evaluation shows higher school attendance by beneficiary children aged between six and 17 years

    (4.4 percentage points) than by non-beneficiary ones. In the north-east (the poorest region in the country) the impact was even higher at 11.7 percentage points. Progression rates also showed a positive impact of 6 percentage points, being higher for girls aged 15 to 17 at 19 and 28 percentage points, respectively. Soares, Souza, Osorio and Silveira (2010) show that Bolsa Família was responsible for a 16% fall in inequality that took place between 1999 and 2009. This is a remarkable achievement since it represents only 0.7% of the income of the families. Its high coverage and good targeting explains this good performance. As for its impact on poverty and extreme poverty, the authors show that Bolsa Família was responsible for a 16% and 33% fall, respectively.

    4 Concluding Remarks

    Bolsa Família is the outcome of a compromise among different conceptions of how to transfer benefits to families living in poverty or vulnerable to poverty.14 Its current design and its multiple objectives encompass food security, income security, and aspects of human development, and co-responsibilities play a crucial role in it as well as the implicit view that it could be a first step towards a guaranteed basic income. In practice, Bolsa Família has established itself as a programme that provides a minimum income to families that are poor or vulnerable to poverty. It has contributed to a fall in poverty (mostly extreme poverty) and inequality in the country, despite not being mainly responsible for this trend, which has been basically driven by an improvement in the distribution of labour income. It has also had a positive impact on intermediate inputs that can improve the human capital of the next generation, mainly health and education outcomes, as with most CCTs in Latin America. Moreover, it has not been shown to have had a negative impact on labour supply. From a public management viewpoint, it has helped to strengthen tools for cooperation in the implementation of policies among different levels of government (vertical integration) and also among different sectors (horizontal integration). Bolsa Família did not aim to replace all social policy or reduce it to a poverty-reduction strategy, as some of its critics allege, but its implementation has helped to highlight the needs of the poor and the existing gaps and inequities in the delivery and actual outcomes of education, health and social assistance policies.

    Despite these auspicious results, there are some unresolved issues that are likely to become problematic as the programme evolves. Looking at current experiences in Latin America, one could think of multiple alternatives for the programme in the medium to the long term.

  • (i) Should Bolsa Familia adopt a more permanent institutional framework for the transfers linked to children, as has been done in Uruguay and Argentina, by expanding family/children allowances (asignaciones familiares) to families without links to the formal labour market?
  • (ii) Should the programme improve its level of integration with social services and complementary programmes with a view to fostering social and economic inclusion of the beneficiaries, particularly those who have a precarious access to health, education, sanitation and the labour market (perhaps based on the experiences of Chile Solidario)?
  • (iii) Should the programme strengthen its human capital dimensions with the introduction of new conditionalities related to school achievement and performance?

    (iv) Should the programme progressively include more beneficiaries through gradual relaxation of its eligibility criteria as a way to implement the law on guaranteed basic income?

    In the Brazilian context, it is unlikely that one option will be adopted as a closed model over others; a mixed model is more likely to prevail and it is likely that subnational governments will soon start to experiment with some of these options.15 There has recently been much talk on the

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    need to tackle the social and economic exclusion of beneficiary families, which could mean a move towards something similar to Chile Solidario, particularly because the government is now discussing a plan to eradicate extreme poverty. The challenge here is to find effective ways to incentivise cooperation among the line ministries and different programmes as well as to evaluate what works and what does not work in the fight against social and economic exclusion.

    A recent increase in the value of the benefits suggests that the income support offered by the programme will be a strong component of the new plan. The increase benefited more families with many children, which are, on average, poorer than other families, signalling the priority that the extreme poor will have in the next phase of the programme. The most difficult task here will be to fight exclusion errors, that is, to reach extremely poor families who are so socially excluded that they do not manage to make their way into the single registry to become beneficiaries of the programme. Again, the municipalities will play a major role if this lack of coverage is to be seriously addressed.


    1 Interestingly, these municipal programmes had certain components that were not incorporated into Bolsa Família (or its predecessors at the federal level), but which can be found in Mexico’s Progresa, like monthly meetings with beneficiaries, the so-called pláticas, and Oportunidades, like savings accounts to encourage completion of uppersecondary education.

    2 According to MESA’s hegemonic view, vulnerability and poverty are due to a lack of local dynamism, so conditioning low-value, unmonitored transfers to school attendance would not generate any kind of short-term emancipation (Cotta 2009).

    3 The title of the Secretariat reveals the influence of the Citizenship Basic Income group (Britto and Soares 2011).

    4 Technically, Bolsa Família also has a geographical targeting that is oriented by (flexible) quotas of beneficiaries per municipality calculated on the basis of Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE, Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) poverty maps.

    5 Exchange rate of R$1.58 to $1 as on 25 April 2009. 6 This component of the structure of benefits was created later in 2008. The higher value of the benefit recognises the higher cost of opportunity of teenagers going to school. 7 Lack of schools and health centres and the impossibility of monitoring co-responsibilities is not a precluding condition for the implementation of Bolsa Família in a certain municipality or area. The programme has actually expanded rapidly, and the conditions for monitoring conditionalities were built much later in partnership with the ministries of education and health.

    8 The Social Assistance Reference Centre (CRAS) is a decentralised agency of the Unified System for Social Assistance (SUAS). CRAS is responsible for organising and supplying basic social protection services in areas of vulnerability and social risk in the municipalities and the Federal District. There are 6,763 units covering 80% of Brazilian municipalities (Curralero et al 2010).

    9 The Specialised Social Assistance Reference Centre is a decentralised agency of the SUAS responsible for the supply of specialised socio-assistance services to families or individuals at risk of having their rights violated. It deals with domestic violence, sexual harassment, minors in custody, and so on.

    10 For education, this figure is around 90%. 11

    tive measures adopted against non-compliant families. Between December 2009 and November 2010 around 13,000 families were under family support. Of these, around 5,000 had the punitive measures suspended (Paiva 2010). 12 See Soares (2010) for a discussion on the volatility of the income of the poor and its implications for Bolsa Família targets. 13 See Soares et al (2010) for a comparison between Bolsa Familia impacts and the ones documented for other CCT programmes in Latin America. 14 See Cotta (2009) for a discussion on different views, and Tomazini (2010) for a discussion on the various coalitions that have emerged around the Bolsa Família programme in an attempt to influence its design. 15 Some states and municipalities are already topping up the value of transfers whereas others are modifying components and conditionalities with a view to expanding the human capital component to include school achievement and performance.


    Bastagli, F A (2008): “The Design, Implementation and Impact of Conditional Cash Transfer Targeted on the Poor: An Evaluation of Brazil’s Bolsa Família”, PhD thesis (London: London School of Economics and Political Science).

    Britto, T F and F V Soares (2011): “Bolsa Família and Citizen’s Basic Income: A Mistep?”, Working Paper Series No 77, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, Brasília.

    Cotta, T C (2009): “Visões de proteção social e transferência de renda condicionada no Brasil e no México” (Social Protection Views and Conditional Cash Transfers in Brazil and Mexico), PhD thesis, Centro de Pesquisa e Pós-Graduação sobre as Américas, CEPPAC, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília.

    Cotta, T C and L H Paiva (2010): “O Programa Bolsa Família e o Combate à Pobreza: reconfigurando a proteção social no Brasil” (The Bolsa Família Programme and the Fight against Poverty: Redesigning Social Protection in Brazil) in J A Castro and L Modesto (ed.), Bolsa Família 2003-2010: Avanços e desafios (Bolsa Família 2003-2010: Achievements and Challenges), Vol 1, Chapter 2, Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea), Brasilia.

    Curralero, C B, A A Silva, D A Ximenes, B P A Vasconcellos, K K N C Aquino, K S Oliveira, A C F Silva and E A F Nilson (2010): “As Condicionalidades do Programa Bolsa Família” (Conditionalities in the Bolsa Família Programme) in J A Castro and L Modesto (ed.), Bolsa Família 2003-2010: Avanços e desafios, Vol 1, Chapter 5, Ipea, Brasilia.

    Draibe, S M (2006): “Brasil: Bolsa Escola y Bolsa Família” (Bolsa Escola and Bolsa Família) in E Cohen and R Franco (ed.), Transferencia con Corresponsabilidad: una mirada lationamericana, Flasco, Mexico City.

    Fonseca, A M M (2001): Família e política de renda mínima (Family and Minimum Income Policy), Cortez, São Paulo.

    Paiva, L H (2010): “Programa Bolsa Familia: 7 anos” (Bolsa Família Programme: 7 Years), Presentation made at the I Conference on Development, on 25 November, Brasilia.

    Silva, J G and L Tavares (2010): “Sobre o Futuro do Bolsa Família” (On the Future of Bolsa Família) in J A Castro and L Modesto (ed.), Bolsa Família 2003-2010: Avanços e desafios, Vol 2, Chap 11, Ipea, Brasilia.

    Soares, F V, R P Ribas and R G Osorio (2010): “Evaluation of the Impact of Brazil’s Bolsa Família: Cash Transfer Programmes in a Comparative Perspective”, Latin American Research Review, Vol 45, No 2, pp 174-90.

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    Soares, S, P H G F Souza, R G Osório and F G Silveira (2010): “Os Impactos do Benefício do Programa Bolsa Família sobre a Desigualdade e a Pobreza” (Impacts of Bolsa Família on Inequality and Poverty)” in J A Castro and L Modesto, Bolsa Família 2003-2010: Avanços e desafios, Vol 2, Chapter 1, Ipea, Brasilia.

    Soares, S (2010): “Volatilidade de Renda e a Cobertura do Programa Bolsa Família” (Income Volatility and Coverage of Bolsa Família Programme) in J A Castro and L Modesto (ed.), Bolsa Família 2003-2010: Avanços e desafios, Vol 1, Chapter 10, Ipea, Brasilia.

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    Tapajós, L, J Quiroga, R B S Ritzi and M F L Taga (2010): “A Importância da Avaliação no Contexto do Bolsa Família” (The Importance of Evaluation in the Context of Bolsa Família) in J A Castro and L Modesto (ed.), Bolsa Família 2003-2010: Avanços e desafios, Vol 2, Chapter 3, Ipea, Brasilia.

    Tomazini, Carla G (2010): “La construction des politiques de transferts monétaires conditionnels: entre consensus et dissentiments. Une analyse de la lutte contre la pauvreté au Brésil et au Mexique” (The Construction of Conditional Cash Transfers: Between Consensus and Disagreements, An Analysis of the Fight Against Poverty in Brazil and Mexico), Tese (Doutorado), Université Paris III, La Sorbonne Nouvelle, Institut des Hautes Études de l’Amérique Latine, Paris.

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    may 21, 2011 vol xlvi no 21

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