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Accepted Paper:

Social Protection and Federalism in times of COVID-19: the case of Brazil.  


Nayara Albrecht (Federal University of São Carlos)

Paper short abstract:

Analysis of how federalism played out in the context of COVID-19. The paper brings a case study of Brazil's social policies focusing on the relationship between levels of government. It sheds light on how federalism interacts with other components, such as the distribution of resources.

Paper long abstract:

This paper aims to analyze the role of social protection and the main challenges faced by political authorities in the context of COVID-19. In this direction, the main goal is to understand the impacts of federalism on the adoption and the implementation of social policies during the sanitary crisis in 2020. Based on the new institutionalism approaches, the chapter portrays how different institutional arrangements may affect policy coordination and uniformity in a federal system. To this purpose, I employed a case study of Brazil focused on the relationship between the federal government and the states in implementing social policies. Through bibliographical and documentary researches, I compared the emergency aid approved during the pandemic to Bolsa Família, the most recognized Brazilian social program. By comparing their designs and functioning, I identified differences and convergences as regards intergovernmental relations. I tried to assess the conflicts lying behind policy coordination and the distribution of federal resources to states. With the theoretical framework on public policy and federalism, I explain which conditions affect the relationship between different levels of government, as well as the impact of federative arrangements on policy-making processes. In Brazil, measures against COVID-19 have been largely marked by conflicts between the federal government and local leaders as their opinions diverged on how to deal with the pandemic. In addition, many local governments faced additional challenges due to public health recommendations. Therefore, the implementation of the emergency aid was mired in several intergovernmental disagreements and hurdles related to COVID-19 and political disputes.

Panel P50d
Evaluation in times of COVID-19 in the Global South IV