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Failing the needy: public social spending in Latin America


  • Peter Lloyd-Sherlock

    (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK)


The paper accounts for the failure of public social spending in Latin American to reach poor and vulnerable groups of the population. It considers the level and allocation of expenditure; the distribution of entitlements across the population and the capacity of different groups to mobilize these entitlements. Whilst total spending levels compare favourably with other developing regions, only a small share is allocated to programmes with greatest potential for poverty reduction. Poor and vulnerable groups enjoy a much narrower range of entitlements than less needy sections and have greater difficulty in mobilizing these entitlements. Recent reform programmes have done little to reduce these inequitable effects. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, 2000. "Failing the needy: public social spending in Latin America," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 101-119.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:12:y:2000:i:1:p:101-119 DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1328(200001)12:1<101::AID-JID622>3.0.CO;2-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David M. Cutler & Ellen Meara, 1998. "The Medical Costs of the Young and Old: A Forty-Year Perspective," NBER Chapters,in: Frontiers in the Economics of Aging, pages 215-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Willem Adema & Marcel Einerhand & Bengt Eklind & Jorgen Lotz & Mark Pearson, 1996. "Net Public Social Expenditure," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 19, OECD Publishing.
    3. Mesa-Lago, Carmelo, 1997. "Social welfare reform in the context of economic-political liberalization: Latin American cases," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 497-517, January.
    4. Glennerster, Howard & Hills, John (ed.), 1998. "The State of Welfare: The Economics of Social Spending," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780198775904, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bigsten , Arne & Levin, Jörgen, 2000. "Growth, Income Distribution, and Poverty: A Review," Working Papers in Economics 32, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    2. Matthias Finger & Rolf W. Künneke (ed.), 2011. "International Handbook of Network Industries," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 12961.
    3. Catarina Figueira & David Parker, 2011. "Infrastructure Liberalization: Challenges to the New Economic Paradigm in the Context of Developing Countries," Chapters,in: International Handbook of Network Industries, chapter 27 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Lopez, Ramon, 2003. "The Policy Roots of Socioeconomic Stagnation and Environmental Implosion: Latin America 1950-2000," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 259-280, February.
    5. Nohra Rey de Marulanda & Julio Guzmán, 2003. "Inequidad, desarrollo humano y política social: Importancia de las "Condiciones Iniciales"," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 1211, Inter-American Development Bank.
    6. Lloyd-Sherlock, Peter, 2000. "Old Age and Poverty in Developing Countries: New Policy Challenges," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2157-2168, December.
    7. Nohra Rey de Marulanda & Julio Guzmán, 2003. "Inequidad, desarrollo humano y política social: Importancia de las "Condiciones Iniciales"," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 10598, Inter-American Development Bank.

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