Economic Development and Social Inequality in Brazil: The Relation Between Economic Development and Development of Social Equality in Brazil from Around 2002 until Today

Astrid Midtun

Studenteropgave: Kandidatafhandlinger


The thesis examines the relation between economic development and development of social equality in Brazil from 2002 until today. Brazil has experienced great economic development, reduction of poverty and social inequality. However, the last five years economic development has slowed down and recently stagnated, making the path of development of social equality unsure. The view behind the analysis believes the world is created by many systems that are part of a larger system. This view places the components, relations and synergies in the Brazilian society in focus. The Systems Approach has therefore been utilized as the main methodological approach. It enables the relationship to be broken down into political, institutional and economic elements, as well as connecting it to the surrounding world through globalization and competitiveness allowing for an in depth analysis. The PIE model is used as the framework for guiding selection of elements and illuminating their dynamics. The theoretical discussion is used to gain predictions of the elements’ synergies. When analyzing the development of the PIE elements, theoretical predictions can be compared with the actual observations in the Brazilian society. The analysis is based on secondary, quantitative data and has been simplified since it is not possible to make a correct model of the complex world. Most of the elements have the same dynamics towards economic development and social equality. Although, the elements need improvement in order to create further positive developments. The factors that distinguish themselves are the conditional cash transfer program Bolsa Família, which greatly contributes to development of social equality, and thus indirectly to economic development. Pensions, taxation and wages are seen as potentially too high and complicated to participate exclusively positively to economic development and development of social equality. Lastly, investments and savings have not increased with the economic growth of Brazil, contradicting the theoretical predictions. The dynamics uncovered in the analysis shows that the PIE elements strongly affect the Brazilian society: The economic distribution affects the social groups. When the poorer and lower middle classes have grown in size, they were able to elect the Worker’s Party to government and change the political situation. The political changes enabled institutional changes, which continuously impacts the economic elements. The dynamics are greatly affected by the political situation. The relationship between economic development and development of social equality is of complex nature. Therefore, the relationship has been investigated and described through the elements of the Brazilian society that affect the relationship.

UddannelserCand.merc.pol International Business and Politics, (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling
Antal sider103