Should we expect a post-Covid-19 social protection epiphany in Latin America?

Submitted by pmassetti on

Global Development Institute Blog (18.02.2021) Social protection has played a leading role in government responses to Covid-19. Public programmes providing income and in-kind transfers to vulnerable population groups have been strengthened and enhanced to address the effects of the pandemic. In low and middle income countries, the expansion of social assistance provided governments with a ready-made platform to reach and support low income groups. Social assistance infrastructure – social registries, implementation agencies, and local community links – facilitated fast and effective responses to the crisis. In addition to existing conditional income transfers and social pensions, several governments in Latin America implemented temporary income transfer programmes to support workers in informal employment. In high income countries, governments mobilised support for furloughed workers and the unemployed while social assistance transfers plugged the gaps left by welfare state retrenchment. Despite this policy activism, the pandemic has laid bare existing deficiencies in social protection and social assistance (for the USA see here, for the EU here,  and for LMICs here). Looking ahead, the prominent role of public transfers has encouraged expectations that the pandemic could open the door for a reappraisal of investment in social protection.

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