This report overviews countries fiscal actions in response to COVID-19 and discusses how governments policies should adapt to get ahead of the pandemic and set the stage for a greener, fairer, and more durable recovery. Global vaccination should be scaled up as it can save lives and will eventually pay for itself with stronger employment and economic activity. Until the pandemic is brought under control globally, fiscal policies must remain flexible and supportive, while keeping debt at a manageable level over the long term. Governments also need to adopt comprehensive policies, embedded in medium-term frameworks, to tackle inequalities—especially in access to basic public services—that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and may cause income gaps to persist. Investing in education, healthcare and early childhood development and strengthening social safety nets financed through improved tax capacity and higher progressivity, can strengthen lifetime opportunities, improve trust, and contribute to more social cohesion.
This paper examines trends in income distribution in Brazil and the determinants of income inequality, including social expenditure. While recent data reveal reduced income inequality since the Real Plan of July 1994, the distribution of income is still among the most unequal in the world. Among the most important determinants of income inequality in Brazil is extreme disparity in educational attainment levels. Public expenditures on education, health, and social insurance have tended to exacerbate income inequality. A number of options for improving the equity and efficiency of Brazilian social expenditure merit further examination.