Tackling Inequality with Arminio Fraga

April 9, 2019

On April 4th, the Brazil LAB hosted Arminio Fraga, an honored friend and Princeton trustee, to share insights about Brazil's economic history and present-day challenges. In his opening remarks, Fraga praised the LAB for taking a "very 'Princeton' approach" to exploring Brazil and its predicaments, one that is both critical and future-thinking.

While Fraga noted that Brazil's inequality has fallen over the past forty years, he lamented that Brazil "bet on the wrong economic model" years ago and that its elite gained wealth in "the wrong way," to the detriment of national growth.  Fraga compared redistribution patterns across several countries, pointing out that Brazil taxes at a high rate but the country does not redistribute wealth. 

To reform Brazil's economy and further address inequality, Fraga made numerous suggestions which he said were remarkable in that they hadn't been tried yet. His suggestions included investing in education and health, reforming the tax code, and creating a new model for the national pension system. 

Fraga has recently started to publish monthly articles in Folha de São Paulo, Brazil’s most prominent newspaper.  Fraga’s first article, “Tragédias,” further elaborated on his insightful Brazil LAB talk.

Fraga was joined by discussant Thomas Fujiwara, an Assistant Professor of Economics at Princeton. The event was co-sponsored by the Program in Latin American Studies, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and the Department of Anthropology.

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Video recording: