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date: 08 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article starts by describing the origins and development of Latin American welfare states before moving on to outline more recent reforms of social policy regimes in the area. It also explains the reasons why some policy regimes are more effective than others and the evidence concerning the impact of programmes in the different countries. It discusses future directions for research on Latin American policy regimes. The Costa Rican and Uruguayan reforms go far towards basic universalism, whereas the universalism of the Chilean reform remains confined to the specified set of illnesses. In the area of labour market policy, governments have had great difficulty making the transition from traditional forms of employment protection to more flexible labour markets and policies that would still protect workers from falling into poverty with their families. Another major area of developing research is the comparative analysis of political struggles over specific policy initiatives.

Keywords: Latin American welfare states, social policy, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Chile, labour market, reforms, universalism

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