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Towards a universal social protection model in Latin America

December 2014|ECLAC Series » Social Policies
Publication cover
Corporate author:
  • NU. CEPAL. División de Desarrollo Social
  • Noruega. Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
UN symbol.: LC/L.3787 54 p.; diagrs., tabls. Editorial: ECLAC December 2014


This document analyzes the State’s role in social matters, in terms of social insurance and protection, social promotion and investment, and its distributive and redistributive role. It also describes changes and major trends in the region’s social investment and protection between the beginning of the twentieth century and the 1980s and outlines what is being termed “the reform of social reforms” in the twenty-first century, in the light of the challenges of the region’s social development. Three recent models of universalism are presented, as well as the debates on their potential and limitations. The paper concludes with a summary of the universalist social protection project emerging in the region.

Table of contents

Introduction .-- I. Conceptual debate on the welfare state .-- II. Targeting, contributive models and universalism: promises and limitations .-- III. Trends and transformation in the region's social protection system .-- IV. Structural challenges and reforms of reform in Latin America .-- V. Three possible models of universalism: potentials and limits .-- VI. Universalism, its allies and enemies: the limits of social reform in Latin America .-- VII. Conclusions.

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