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Social protection systems, redistribution and growth in Latin America



After reviewing the debate over the relative merits of universalism and targeting in social policy, this paper assesses the present state of and challenges to social protection systems in Latin America. It shows that these systems expanded broadly but unevenly across the region during the decade from 2003 to 2013. In particular, there are still large inequalities in access to social protection by type of employment and household income. Contributory coverage is low, and while the coverage of non-contributory assistance has increased, benefits are generally small. The impact of social spending in the form of direct transfers is still low by comparison with developed countries. The paper also shows that the expansion of social protection systems has contributed more than GDP growth to poverty reduction.

Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL) - Biblioteca Hernán Santa Cruz

Héctor Aracena

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