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Mexico’s Progresa-Oportunidades and the emergence of social assistance in Latin America

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  • Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel

Abstract

This paper provides an overview of the political and economic context under which Mexico’s Progresa-Oportunidades was introduced to prelude the emergence of social assistance in Latin America. The paper identifies four distinctive features of the programme that were revolutionary in their own right. First, the Progresa-Oportunidades embraced a multidimensional approach to poverty, linking income transfers with simultaneous interventions in health, education and nutrition. Second, the programme focused on the poor. This is in clear contrast to generalised food subsidies and other targeted interventions that dominated the antipoverty agenda in the past. Third, the programme followed a complex system of identification and selection of beneficiaries to prevent discretionary political manipulation of public funds. Finally, an independent impact evaluation protocol proved to be critical for both improving the programme’s effectiveness and strengthening its legitimacy across different political factions and constituencies. The paper concludes that the success of Progresa-Oportunidades must be understood in a broader context, where a harsh economic and political environment, coupled with a rapid democratisation and increasing political competition, laid down the foundations for the introduction and then sustained expansion of the programme

Suggested Citation

  • Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel, 2011. "Mexico’s Progresa-Oportunidades and the emergence of social assistance in Latin America," MPRA Paper 29639, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:29639
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    Cited by:

    1. Addison Tony & Niño-Zarazúa Miguel & Singhal Saurabh & Gisselquist Rachel M., 2015. "Needs vs expediency: Poverty reduction and social development in post-conflict countries," WIDER Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Masino, Serena & Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel, 2014. "Social service delivery and access to financial innovation. The impact of Oportunidades’ electronic payment system in Mexico," MPRA Paper 53430, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Carla Canelas & Miguel Niño-Zarazúa, 2018. "Schooling and labour market impacts of Bolivia’s Bono Juancito Pinto," WIDER Working Paper Series 036, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    social assistance; poverty; human development; Latin America; Mexico;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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