October 29, 2006


Cash Aid Program Bolsters Lula's Reelection Prospects: Incentives for Families To Help Themselves Spreads Beyond Brazil (Monte Reel, October 29, 2006, Washington Post)

In this sparsely furnished cinder-block house with seven rooms, one tattered love seat and no chairs, the refrigerator doesn't work and the electric stove won't heat up. But the 13-inch television can conjure a picture through its rabbit-ear antenna, and that's what Edmundo Rodrigues da Silva points to when explaining how he'll vote in Brazil's presidential election Sunday.

"The reason I got the television was to keep my kids in the house, instead of watching them go to a neighbor's house to watch their television," said Rodrigues da Silva, a 54-year-old father of seven and a subsistence farmer. "And the reason I was able to get it was President Lula. After he got into office, we got Bolsa Familia."

Bolsa Familia is the cash assistance program that pays more than 11 million low-income families in Brazil about $40 per month in cash if they meet conditions such as ensuring their children regularly attend school and have regular health checkups and vaccinations. [...]

Such "conditional cash transfer" aid programs have spread throughout Latin America in recent years and have recently been exported to the United States, where New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg this month announced that his city would adopt a version.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 29, 2006 9:02 AM
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