Challenges to social policies
The series of national and sub-national Human Development
Reports has led to path breaking initiatives in Brazil. In 1997, leading
think tanks completed an Atlas of Human Development focusing on conditions of life in the state of Minas Gerais, further disaggregating
the human development index for all its municipalities. As a result, the state government introduced the “Robin Hood Law” that ensures that more tax revenues are allocated to those of its municipalities that rank low on the index, as well as perform poorly on a number of other social and
environmental indicators. The success of that initiative led a second version of the Atlas in 1998, which provides high-resolution
disaggregated data for all of Brazil. The Atlas’ HDI provides the fundamental indicator information for the central government’s “Dawn
Program,” which will distribute $4 billion to support poverty eradication initiatives over the next three years, allocating resources to all of the country’s more than 5,000 municipalities.