Beginning in October, Brazil’s federal government halved the monthly emergency payments it had provided to the country’s poor during the pandemic, to about $54. The administration of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro says it plans to keep parts of the program, but it has also expressed concerns about its cost. The Getúlio Vargas Foundation estimates that ending the payments would send 15 million people back into poverty. Will keeping the cash transfer program become a necessary part of Brazil’s economic recovery from Covid-19? What will be the long-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic on Brazil’s middle class? How would a shrinking middle class affect Brazil’s political stability and Bolsonaro’s agenda?

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This Edition’s Commentators:

Monica de Bolle, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics

Gabrielle Trebat, managing director for Brazil and the Southern Cone at McLarty Associates

Jacqueline Pitanguy, executive director of Citizenship, Study, Research, Information, and Action (CEPIA) in Brazil and a member of the Inter-American Dialogue