Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Post-doctoral researcher - Evaluation of the Maricá Basic Income Program (Niterói, Brazil)

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    13/09/2020 16:00 - America/Sao Paulo
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
    Brazil, Niterói
    Universidade Federal Fluminense
    Graduate Program in Economics (PPGE)

The Department of Economics of the Universidade Federal Fluminense is now looking for a post-doc researcher to join its team. Researchers based in Europe are welcome to apply for a Global fellowship to carry out research of up to 2 years in our institution under the H2020 Program MSCA Global Fellowships:

The Universidade Federal Fluminense, based in Niteroi, Brazil, and the Jain Family Institute, based in New York City, are collaborating to evaluate the largest basic income policy in Latin America, in Maricá, Brazil. With support from the City of Maricá, the Brazilian Basic Income Network, and colleagues across the world, our international research team will conduct a longitudinal mixed-methods study that will yield unprecedentedly broad insights into the macro and microeconomic effects of Maricá’s policy and contribute to debates on social welfare and cash transfer policies across the social sciences.

Maricá’s basic income program is called Renda Básica de Cidadania (Citizens’ Basic Income, or RBC). Following a major expansion in 2019, more than 42,000 people -- roughly one out of every four Maricá residents -- is now enrolled in its basic income program. Each of these beneficiaries, all of whom have lived in Maricá for at least three years and belong to households earning less than three times Brazil’s minimum monthly income of R$1045 per month (approximately US$195), initially received a monthly payment equivalent to 130 reais (approximately US$25) per person, paid in mumbuca, Maricá’s local digital currency. As a response to the Covid-19 crisis, the transfer was temporarily increased to the equivalent of 300 reais (approximately US$56 per person).

In a country where the more usual per-capita poverty line stands at 178 reais (roughly US$33) per month, the program is poised to make a major difference in the lives of tens of thousands and to impact scholarly and popular debates around cash transfer programs in Brazil and across the world.

The payment is made in a local currency called the mumbuca (named for the town’s river and one of its indigenous groups) and cannot be taken out in cash. The currency is administered by a community bank called the Banco Mumbuca and can only be spent in the city of Maricá, through a card and a cell phone app. The Banco Mumbuca is one of more than one hundred banks that belong to Brazil’s highly developed network of community banks coordinated by its founding member, Banco Palmas in Fortaleza; many run their own similar local currencies. In addition to 14,000 accounts for benefit recipients, the Banco Mumbuca currently has 10,000 voluntary accounts denominated in mumbucas. Merchants who accept the Mumbuca pay a 2% fee, which is used to finance zero-interest loans to groups of local residents.


The study:

A mixed-methods study design including recipients, non-recipients, and leaders in Maricá consisting of three main components:

  1. In-person quantitative surveys of several thousand residents examining effects on consumption, access to credit, work, income, physical and psychological well-being, child well-being, and relationship dynamics. We hope to conduct these surveys in early 2021, but due to the pandemic, our schedule is uncertain.
  2. Qualitative interviews with 25 local business owners, policy makers, politicians, and other key figures, to be conducted via video conferencing beginning in July 2020. These will be semi-structured interviews
  3. Qualitative interviews with 20 beneficiaries and 20 non-beneficiaries from among the survey respondents, which will further investigate the questions addressed in the quantitative survey while addressing other questions across the social sciences, including clientelism, corruption, and rights; financial inclusion and participation in the formal banking sector; economic solidarity and social currencies; stigma, dignity, and political agency; and family and gender dynamics. These will be semi-structured interviews
  4. In addition, we are systematically monitoring both traditional and social media.
  5. Finally, we will develop a price index to track inflationary effects locally, in collaboration with the city-supported research center Instituto Darcy Ribeiro and DIEESE, the Departamento Intersindical de Estatística e Estudos Socioeconômicos
Components 1 and 3 will likely be carried out by a leading public policy research firm. Component 2 will be conducted by the researchers ourselves.

A tentative sixth component is an evaluation of an array of measures implemented from March 2020 onwards by Maricá’s city government aimed at reducing the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Maricá’s new policy is among the fastest and most ambitious enactments of basic income as a crisis response, proposals for which have been a topic of live debate in cities and countries around the world.

The post-doc is expected:

  • To be a part of the research group at the Universidade Federal Fluminense studying the Citizens’ Basic Income, in which they will be required to
    • To contribute to one or more of the components of the research, according to his or her skills and interests.
    • To attend weekly meetings with the research group.
  • To conduct his or her own independent research on topics to be defined in accordance with the local research supervisor.
  • To give one research seminar per semester, in English, for PhD candidates and faculty at UFF’s Department of Economics.
  • (Possibly: to teach a 30-hour course, in English or Portuguse, for PhD candidates in Economics.)


To know more about the study, please access one of the following articles:

For more information about the hosting offer, please contact: Fabio Waltenberg (fdwaltenberg@id.uff.br)




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