Explaining Brazil #49: How to reform Brazil’s pension system

In 1998, then-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso tried to overhaul Brazil’s pension system. Cardoso had just won re-election — without even needing a runoff— but he faced fierce opposition. His administration suffered multiple losses in Congress, and the reform ended up passing nearly four years later — and by that point, it wasn’t much of a reform, rather a tweak that only postponed the problem.

Cardoso’s successors also tackled the pension system—with different degrees of success. Now, the Jair Bolsonaro administration has submitted his own bill to reform Brazil’s pension system. And it is the most ambitious we’ve seen — or the harshest, depending on how you see it. Will his administration be able to succeed where so many others failed?

On this podcast

Gustavo Ribeiro has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de São Paulo, Médiapart and Radio France Internationale. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Abril Prize for outstanding political journalism. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

Monica de Bolle is a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the director for Latin American studies and emerging markets at Johns Hopkins University. Named as “Honored Economist” in 2014 by the Order of Brazilian Economists for her contributions to the Brazilian policy debate, Ms. de Bolle focuses on macroeconomics, foreign exchange policy, monetary and fiscal policy, trade and inequality, financial regulation, and capital markets.

Natália Scalzaretto has worked for companies such as Santander Brasil and Reuters, where she covered news ranging from commodities to technology. Most recently, she worked as an editor for Trading News, the information division from TradersClub investor community.

This podcast was produced by Edmund Ruge, is a freelance journalist based in Rio de Janeiro. He holds a Master’s Degree in International Economics and Latin American Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

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