The diverse paths towards universalism in Latin American social policies: the case of pensions in Brazil and Chile

The aim of my DPhil dissertation is to explain how different policy architectures have incentives and constraints to develop a path towards universalism on social policies in the medium term, influencing policy decisions in the short run. Firstly, I will assess the progressive adoption of non-contributory pensions as a policy shift towards universalism in Latin America. Then, by considering the diverse policy architectures in Chile (a mainly privately owned pension system with a residual public pillar) and Brazil (a mainly public but fragmented pension system), I will perform a comparative study to assess the incentives and obstacles towards universalism of both policy architectures and their institutional and political factors.

The discussion about how pension trajectories are moving and facing incentives and constraints towards universalism is very important for experts and policymakers. Nonetheless, I argue that universalism is not only to achieve a broad coverage but also needs to have generous amounts and equitable delivery to beneficiaries. The degree of universalism would depend on the trajectory of the policy architectures, the interaction of its components, and the influence of political and institutional factors.

Luis Vargas Faulbaum
Research Student