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social inclusion policies, conditional cash transfers, affirmative action policies, discrimination


This article argues that social inclusion policies are economically efficient because social exclusion is too costly in terms of economic growth and social cohesion. To make this point, we analyze different social inclusion policies, particularly those practiced in Brazil and in Colombia. These are crucial because they highlight the racial dimension of exclusion and the corresponding economic contribution of Affirmative Action policies (AAs) to sustained economic growth and development. Central to social policies aiming at inclusion are educational policies because they render the highest economic medium and long-term return. To demonstrate this effect, we analyzeConditional Cash Transfers (CCTs), a Brazilian social policy that has become a landmark in social policy across national borders. The article also reviews some of the positive impacts AAs have had on inequality reduction. The experiences of CCTand AA policies are blueprints for social policy design and innovation. Access to higher education is the sine-qua-non precondition for formal labor market insertion, guarantying income generation of those families in need. In this context, the need for an efficient assignment of scarce public resources and the imperative of inequality reduction call for exploring possible multidimensional objectives of CCTs, including the possibility of combining them with AAs.

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Investigación & Desarrollo, v. 21, no. 2, p. 455-478