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The politics of social protection in times of crisis: COVID-19 and cash transfers in Latin America

25 November 2022

Venue: CEDLA, Roetersstraat 33 | 1018 WB Amsterdam - 2nd Floor

Organization: CEDLA Lecture

Merike Blofield, University of Hamburg

The socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were particularly severe for the most vulnerable households in Latin America. Governments’ social protection responses determined whether families could still cover their basic necessities during this crisis. In a new comparative study on the cash transfer responses in ten Latin American countries, Professor Merike Blofield and colleagues have found a huge variation, ranging from generous responses in Brazil and Chile, to virtually no response in Mexico. In her lecture, Blofield will discuss the main findings and the three interactive variables that explain for this variation: policy legacies, divided government, and fiscal space. Her research shows that in times of crisis, the politics of social policy can change profoundly, with traditional factors like ideology and electoral competition playing a less central role than under normal circumstances.


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