Strengthening Income Stabilization through Social Protection in Emerging and Developing Economies: The Brazilian Experience

Social protection programs are crucial for stabilizing household income, especially during crises. Brazil's response to the pandemic, the Auxilio Emergencial (AE) program, demonstrated the value of a resilient social safety net and digital tools. This study assesses AE's effectiveness in income stabilization, poverty reduction, and inequality. Results show that the pre-pandemic social protection system would have only buffered about a quarter of income loss, with unemployment insurance more significant for higher-income households, and social safety net transfers crucial for lower-income households, especially those in informal employment. AE successfully supported lower-income households during the pandemic, but its generosity went beyond the stabilization of income, resulting in large fiscal costs.