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Capacidades Estatais no Programa Bolsa Família: O Desafio de Consolidação do Sistema Único de Assistência Social

Listed author(s):
  • Diogo R. Coutinho
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    Por meio de uma abordagem centrada na análise de arranjos político-institucionais criados para implementar políticas de desenvolvimento no contexto democrático pós-1988, este trabalho utiliza as categorias de capacidades técnico-administrativas (associadas à dimensão de efetividade) e capacidades políticas (associadas à dimensão de legitimidade) para descrever o Programa Bolsa Família (PBF) em sua interação com o campo da assistência social. Discute como se relacionam tais capacidades no plano concreto de implementação do programa, apontando o fato de que, no âmbito local (a “ponta”), o PBF confunde-se, de modo significativo, com a estrutura da assistência social, a despeito de, no plano federal (o “topo”), ambas as políticas contarem com estruturas de gestão distintas e relativamente autônomas. Nesse contexto, traz o argumento de que, no processo de consolidação do Sistema Único de Assistência Social (Suas), o aprofundamento da articulação entre o PBF e a assistência social constitui-se em um desafio relevante e premente, sendo os casos dos conselhos municipais de assistência social (CMAS) e as conferências nacionais de assistência social apresentados como exemplos de como capacidades técnico-administrativas podem ajudar a forjar e institucionalizar capacidades políticas e vice-versa. In a slow process marked by authoritarian moments, regressive effects, bureaucratic insulation, centralized arrangements and cronyism, since the 1930s Brazil has been building its Welfare State. In the wake of struggles and political clashes for ensuring rights and reviving democracy, the Constitution of 1988 brought about an important shift, as it established economic and social rights and outlined a new legal and institutional framework for social policies. Among other provisions, the 1988 Constitution also established specific guidelines for the social assistance field (i.e., a non-contributory universal policy intended to meet basic needs based on the offer of public services and payment of income). Early in the decade of 2000, concurrently with the construction. of the new social assistance system, the Bolsa Família program (PBF) was created and launched. Compared to the track record of the Brazilian social policies, PBF adopted new management arrangements, instruments and methods and has accounted for a portion of the equity gains (reduced poverty and inequality) experienced in the 2000 decade.This paper analyzes the PBF from the point of view of its political and institutional arrangement - that is, the set of rules, organizations and processes that define the way stakeholders and interests are coordinated in the implementation of a specific public policy. In particular, it considers the program from the perspective of its dynamic relationship with the social assistance field, discussing the connection between the political and institutional arrangements of these two policies “at the end” (i.e., at a local level) and on the “top” (i.e., at a federal level). To that end, it draws on the categories of administrative capabilities (associated to the dimension of effectiveness) and political capabilities (associated to the dimension of legitimacy) and gets input from interviews with officials from the Ministry of Social Development and Fight Against Hunger (MDS). The underlying assumption is that the PBF has an ambivalent relationship with the social assistance policy - this is because although it presents a very peculiar institutional arrangement, as well as an independent legal framework, PBF assumes a hybrid nature at the local level, with social assistance and its subdivisions, especially in small and underprivileged towns (the vast majority in Brazil). Therefore, PBF largely depends on the social assistance framework so that it can be organized and institutionalized in most Brazilian cities, although it is quite distant from the social assistance framework at the federal level of management (the “top”). In conclusion, I argue that in the process of consolidation of the Brazilian System of Social Assistance (SUAS), stronger coordination and synergies between the PBF and the field of social assistance demand further attention, and are translated into significant challenges.Examples taken from the city councils of social assistance and national conferences of social assistance are then discussed to show how technical and administrative capabilities can reinforce each other and help institutionalizing policies.

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    Paper provided by Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA in its series Discussion Papers with number 1852.

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    Length: 50 pages
    Date of creation: Aug 2013
    Handle: RePEc:ipe:ipetds:1852
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