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Social protection for the poor in Latin America

Listed author(s):
  • Hicks, Norman
  • Wodon, Quentin

Confronted with recurrent macroeconomic shocks, governments in Latin America and the Caribbean have increasingly been concerned about establishing or strengthening systems of social protection and safety net programmes. The goal of these programmes is to help mitigate the impact of shocks on the poor before they occur, and to help the poor cope with the shocks once they have occurred. In this paper, we focus on publicly funded or mandated safety nets functioning as risk-coping mechanisms. The paper reviews the characteristics of a good safety net, in comparison with the main types of safety nets currently in place, and finds in general that no single programme meets all of the criteria in terms of efficiency and effectiveness, although some are better than others. Finally, what has been the actual record in terms of protecting the poor through targeted public spending during crises? The paper finds that because of fiscal constraints during a crisis, social spending is often pro-cyclical when ideally it should be counter-cyclical. Ironically enough, social protection spending itself does not appear to be protected.

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File URL: http://repositorio.cepal.org/handle/11362/10792
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Article provided by Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL) in its journal Revista CEPAL.

Volume (Year): (2001)
Issue (Month): (April)
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:ecr:col070:10792
Note: Includes bibliography
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  1. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 2000. "Does Child Labour Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioural Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages 158-175, March.
  2. Revenga, Ana & Riboud, Michelle & Tan, Hong, 1994. "The Impact of Mexico's Retraining Program on Employment and Wages," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 8(2), pages 247-277, May.
  3. Grosh, Margaret E., 1992. "The Jamaican food stamps programme : A case study in targeting," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 23-40, February.
  4. Kene Ezemenari, 1997. "The Link between Public and Private Interhousehold Transfers: Implications for the Design of Safety Net Programs in Developing Countries," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(2), pages 666-671.
  5. Wodon, Quentin T., 1997. "Targeting the poor using ROC curves," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(12), pages 2083-2092, December.
  6. Castro-Fernandez, Rodriguo & Wodon, Quentin, 2002. "Protecting the Unemployed in Chile: From State Assistance to Individual Insurance?," MPRA Paper 15416, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  8. Besley, Timothy J & Kanbur, S M Ravi, 1988. "Food Subsidies and Poverty Alleviation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(392), pages 701-719, September.
  9. Glewwe, Paul & Hall, Gillette, 1998. "Are some groups more vulnerable to macroeconomic shocks than others? Hypothesis tests based on panel data from Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 181-206, June.
  10. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-427, June.
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