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Employment Policies in Brazil: History, Scope and Limitations


  • Roberto Henrique Gonzalez

    () (Institute for Applied Economic Research)


The objective of this paper is to present the main characteristics of the public employment system in Brazil, focusing on its history, scope and current coverage. It seeks to contribute to the debate on social and employment policies, especially as regards creating job opportunities that help people escape from poverty. A conceptual caveat: throughout the paper, the expression ?employment policies? is used in a narrow sense to encompass policies ?whose specific objectives promote direct and explicit actions within the labour market? (Barbosa and Moretto, 1998: 20). The paper therefore omits other policies that act on macroeconomic factors, labour relations, access to social security and healthcare. While these greatly influence the level and quality of employment in the economy, their actions are beyond the scope of the paper. On the other hand, regulation of certain aspects of working conditions and wages has been regarded as falling within the scope of ?employment policy? whenever the goal of such regulation was to affect labour market outcomes directly. This includes setting a minimum wage, for example, but it excludes workplace health and safety standards. The term ?public employment system? is reserved for the set of employment policies that are seen as acting together to ensure individuals? entry or reintegration into the labour market. The paper is divided into three parts. The first outlines the history of employment-related government policies, from the compensation scheme for newly terminated employees and supplemental pay to the design of what it known as the employment system. The second section maps out the scope of existing employment policies and points to the limitations of the public employment system as currently understood by the Brazilian government; it also presents selected indicators concerning the public system?s coverage relative to the Brazilian labour market. The final section highlights a number of issues faced by the public employment system today as regards its ability to reintegrate workers into the labour market. (...)

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Henrique Gonzalez, 2010. "Employment Policies in Brazil: History, Scope and Limitations," Working Papers 70, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
  • Handle: RePEc:ipc:wpaper:70

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sarah Baird & Craig McIntosh & Berk Özler, 2011. "Cash or Condition? Evidence from a Cash Transfer Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1709-1753.
    2. Armando Barrientos, 2013. "Human Development Income Transfers in the Longer Term," Working Papers 116, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    3. Sergei Suarez Dillon Soares, 2012. "Bolsa Família, its Design, its Impacts and Possibilities for the Future," Working Papers 89, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    4. Luca Pellerano and Valentina Barca, 2016. "The conditions for conditionality in cash transfers," One Pager 317, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    5. Schady, Norbert & Araujo, Maria Caridad, 2006. "Cash transfers, conditions, school enrollment, and child work : evidence from a randomized experiment in Ecuador," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3930, The World Bank.
    6. Armando Barrientos, 2013. "Human Development Income Transfers in the Longer Term," One Pager 224, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    7. World Bank, 2015. "The State of Social Safety Nets 2015," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 22101.
    8. Richard Akresh & Damien de Walque & Harounan Kazianga, 2013. "Cash Transfers and Child Schooling: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation of the Role of Conditionality," Economics Working Paper Series 1301, Oklahoma State University, Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business.
    9. Katia Covarrubias & Benjamin Davis & Paul Winters, 2012. "From protection to production: productive impacts of the Malawi Social Cash Transfer scheme," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 50-77, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robles, Claudia & Mirosevic, Vlado, 2013. "Social protection systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Brazil," Documentos de Proyectos 532, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).

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