New report on social policy in Central America for ECLAC

Juliana Martínez Franzoni, Diego Sánchez Ancochea and Salvador Martí have just concluded a report on universalism and social policy in Latin America that can be found on the CEPAL webpage.   Here is the abstract:

This document studies changes and continuities in terms of social incorporation in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua since the early 1990s. To this effect, old-age pensions, health services and conditional cash transfers (CCTs) programs, particularly in their relation to health services, are studied. The main concern is establishing the evolution of universal incorporation —particularly important for income redistribution— which takes place when social programs combine broad coverage, generosity and equity.

The study reports significant improvements in terms of social incorporation but most often of a segmented (as opposed to universal) kind. The three countries still face significant problems of coverage, generosity and equity in healthcare and pensions. Meanwhile, CCTs have been unequally able to influence the other social policy sectors. Although the three countries share these patterns, the document shows that El Salvador has taken more significant steps to promote universalism in healthcare (but not in pensions).