The disputes over emergency coronavirus benefits in Brazil and Argentina

As both countries were severely affected by the pandemic, governments created benefits for vulnerable households — which became political tools disputed by different factions

argentina brazil emergency income coronavirus latin america
Buenos Aires: Argentinian flag with the message “Stay Home.” Photo: Carolina Jaramillo/Shutterstock

With the profound economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, emergency wealth transfer policies have popped up in both Brazil and Argentina. While providing much-needed breathing room to vulnerable populations, they have also shown the size of the challenges South America’s two largest economies will face in the post-Covid-19 financial recovery stage.

According to data from Brazil’s federal government transparency platform, around 66 million people received the administration’s emergency aid benefit in July, comprising a BRL 600 (USD 107) monthly payment to the unemployed, informal workers, individual micro-business holders, and beneficiaries of the Bolsa Família cash-transfer program. Single mothers are...

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