Economists discuss social policies for Rio de Janeiro

Columbia University Professor and former United Nations’ Deputy Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, José Antonio Ocampo, and Finance Director of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD), Stephany Griffith-Jones, discussed social policies and their roles in the pursuit to reduce inequality, on Wednesday (September 14th) in an event in Rio de Janeiro.

In his introduction speech, Professor Ocampo emphasized that assistance programs are necessary, but they are not a substitute for a basic social policy. According to him, the asymmetry between labor market and human development is an issue that still needs to be dealt with, as well as a better way to manage the negative effects of the economic slowdown and recession. Ocampo pointed out that universal social programs should be expanded and that the redistribution of fiscal policy should be increased in order to reduce poverty and inequality.

Columbia’s Professor affirms that social policies must be thought taking three very important facts into consideration: the differences between public and private initiatives; targeting policies and universal policies; and the informality scenario.

 

 

Professor José Antonio Ocampo at the event in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Maria Eduarda Vaz

 

“In Latin American Countries, we see ourselves as demanders of the state instead of contributors to the state” (OCAMPO, José Antonio)

 

Professor Stephany Griffith-Jones talked about the key role of development banks and how they should work so that reducing inequality is possible. She says it is important to expand existing development banks and also create new ones, including in low-income countries. According to Griffith-Jones, good development banks must clear aims and targets, which must be linked to national development strategies. They must also have a good governance, provide proper incentives to staff and borrowers, provide technical assistance to smaller borrowers and poorer countries, and have a commitment to transparency and accountability, not only to the parliaments but also to the civil society.

 

Professor Stephany Griffith-Jones at the event in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Maria Eduarda Vaz

 

Still according to the Professor development banks should provide financing for structural transformation and global public goods, such as electricity to poor people at affordable prices using renewable energy. It is the banks´ duty to deepen and improve financial markets for development, as well as supporting greater inclusion.

The event took place at Instituto Pereira Passos (IPP) and counted on the participation of Fernando Cavalieri (R Research Manager at IPP, who discussed poverty and inequality in Rio de Janeiro and contextualized the speeches of both Professors to Rio’s reality.