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COVID-19 and Strategic Sectors in Brazil: A Socially-Embedded Intersectional Capabilities Approach

Haider, Khan and Szymanski-Burgos, Adam (2021): COVID-19 and Strategic Sectors in Brazil: A Socially-Embedded Intersectional Capabilities Approach.

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COVID-19 impacts have exacerbated socioeconomic inequalities and the threat of hunger and absolute poverty for vulnerable populations globally. Brazil, as a large Southern engine of growth, is a complex case. In responding to the public health impacts and economic challenges of the pandemic, the case of Brazil stands out for several reasons. First, what was distinctive about Brazilian public health policy and what have been the consequences so far? Second, what circumstances and economic policy measures have led to a V-shaped recovery? Finally, what is the further prognosis for Brazil over the next few years and what are the points of leverage to ensure a sustained recovery? Our analysis highlights the salience of considering development and the economic and social shocks of pandemics from a Socially Embedded Intersectional Approach (SEICA) perspective. Using an economy-wide modelling methodology, we identify ‘strategic’ sectors in the Brazilian economy defined as sectors critical for both pulling the wider economy out of a recession and for supporting widespread income growth, particularly for those in the bottom 40% of households. Additionally, we are able to draw some conclusions that may be relevant for the case of other economies in various stages of development, particularly those with sharply uneven development patterns and large rural populations.

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