Brazil Divided: Hindsights on the Growing Politicization of Inequality

WID.world Issue Brief 2018/3
Amory Gethin, Marc Morgan
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The political polarisation surrounding the 2018 Brazilian presidential election can be associated to class cleavages linked to the Workers’ Party’s policies in directly improving the living conditions of the poor, and indirectly benefiting elites, largely to the neglect of the middle class. The poorest 50% in the income distribution have been increasingly more likely to vote for the PT and other left-of-centre parties since 2002 compared to the richest 10%. This striking evolution occurred in a context of strong income growth for the bottom deciles (almost twice the national average), compared to the lower-than average growth for the upper-middle class. The Bolsonaro vote has gathered those who are disappointed with the political system’s corruption and complacency for security issues, as well as those who are appeased by the candidate’s liberal economic program.

This article has given rise to an interview in the Brazilian newspaper Valor Econômico.