OECD Development Centre Working Papers

The OECD Development Centre links OECD members with developing and emerging economies and fosters debate and discussion to seek creative policy solutions to emerging global issues and development challenges. This series of working papers is intended to disseminate the OECD Development Centre’s research findings rapidly among specialists in the field concerned. These papers are generally available in the original English or French, with a summary in the other language.

English, French

Fighting Extreme Poverty in Brazil

The Influence of Citizens' Action on Government Policies

Against the background of Brazil’s highly unequal distribution of income and wealth, and its history of alienation and passivity of the poor, in particular during the years of political authoritarianism, this paper shows how an active civil society, driven by ethical concerns, has, since 1993, nudged democratic government at different levels as well as enterprises of the public sector into undertakings which alleviate poverty directly in various ways and open up new perspectives for a number of the poor.

While the reach and impact of these programmes is still rather limited in the face of the country’s 32 million “extremely poor” (1990), and data are lacking for a comprehensive evaluation, the approach followed deserves attention as a large-scale experiment which introduces new political practices, based on dialogue between administrations and committees of citizens about priorities as well as implementation and monitoring of activities. In political terms, the main achievement is ...


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