This paper discusses data from a survey and in-depth interviews on elite perceptions of poverty in Brazil. De Swaan tried to identify the circumstances under which elites are willing to mobilize resources in order to promote poverty reduction. This paper questions if de Swaan’s analysis applies to Brazil. The main finding is that two parts of de Swaan’s thesis do apply: that poverty is a problem for the rich in the sense that it generates negative externalities that they would like to reduce; and that the elite believe that there are effective remedies. What is missing for Brazilian elites is the third element, namely that the elite see poverty as their responsibility to do something about it.
Reis, E.P. Poverty in the Eyes of Brazilian Elites. UNU-WIDER, Helsinki, Finland (2010) 20 pp. ISBN 978-92-9230-340-2 [WIDER Working Paper No. 2010/103]