Social policy: Targeting or Universalism?

Vol. 26 No. 4 (2006)

Jul-Sep / 2006
Published July 1, 2006
PDF-Portuguese (Português (Brasil))
PDF-Portuguese (Português (Brasil))

How to Cite

Kerstenetzky, Celia Lessa. 2006. “Social Policy: Targeting or Universalism?”. Brazilian Journal of Political Economy 26 (4):564-74.

Social policy: Targeting or Universalism?

Celia Lessa Kerstenetzky
Professora-adjunta do Departamento de Economia da Universidade Federal Fluminense e pesquisadora- bolsista do CNPq.
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 26 No. 4 (2006), Jul-Sep / 2006, Pages 564-574


 Public debate on social policies in Brazil has focused on the choice between targeted and universal programs. The article argues that the choice is unclear and misleading unless a previous decision is taken concerning principles of social justice. After distinguishing three different connotations of targeting – as residualism, conditionality or retification – and noting that universal programs may be compatible with minimalist social policy, the article goes on to make explicit a number of neglected options.

JEL Classification: D63.

Keywords: social policy targeted policies universal policies distributive justice welfare state