10 November 2014
Dr Daniel Wei Wang, Assistant Lecturer in Health and Human Rights at Queen Mary University of London, has been awarded a national prize by the Brazilian Ministry of Development for the best article on the 'right to social care'.
A panel of legal specialists, selected by the Ministry of Development and the Ministry of Health, were responsible for selecting the three best pieces of work with Dr Wang's awarded first place and prize money of approximately £1000.
His paper, co-authored by Natalia Pires, analyses the policy implications of the decision of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court to elevate the maximum income threshold for persons of old age or with disabilities that live in deprived households to be eligible to receive a minimum wage as a social benefit (the Beneficio de Prestação Continuada).
It argues that the expansion of this policy via a judicial decision has very high opportunity costs that become visible when compared to other social policies, such as the well-known Bolsa Familia, which provide better results in terms of alleviating poverty and extreme poverty at a much lower cost. The conclusion is that both courts and legal scholars cannot evaluate a judicial decision expanding a social right looking only at those who are benefited by the decision, but also as a policy choice with opportunity costs and distributive implications.