Social Policy in Latin America
Under the broad umbrella of social policy, this year-long Policy Research Project (PRP) seeks to explore various policy arenas –e.g., education, health (including mental health), labor, social inclusion, and so on –throughout Latin America, with the purpose of surveying the region and exploring “best practices” that can be adapted to different countries under varying circumstances. This exploration of social policy will be framed within a general assessment of political, economic, and sociocultural norms of the region, which in turn leads to an exploration of how human rights and gender, for example, are critical for understanding how social policy is designed and implemented. With the ample experiences of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs, we have learned that a gendered perspective is critical in under standing these programs; as an illustration, the research project will analyze policies designed to benefit women and families in particular ways (e.g., in the areas of health, labor, education) and how they fit within a country’s government policy agenda as a whole. Overall, our general frame will be an assessment of how social policy is connected to and interacts with many other policy arenas, such as the environment, immigration, national security, and so on. For comparative purposes, the analysis will cover a broad range of large and small countries in the region, in an effort to break out of more traditional analyses of social policy in Latin America that have tended to focus predominantly on the largest and more important countries (Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Mexico). The primary purpose of this research will be to explore what the future holds for social policy in Latin America, based on the analysis conducted by the various teams of students. We are specifically interested in exploring the major challenges that lie ahead and how they might be addressed by learning from the experiences of others. The research conducted in this PRP will follow a mixed methods approach, relying on archival data, content analysis, and key informant interviews. The anticipated end product will be PRP Report, to be concluded during the Spring semester.