Changing Welfare in Latin America and Europe: Moving Forward or Backward?

Coordinatori di sessione: Paolo Graziano, Matteo Jessoula


Testo della call

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have experienced fast economic development in the last decade, even during the global economic crisis. Economic and employment growth have favored a remarkable expansion of social protection, with a growing role for public welfare schemes, though the region still ranks among the most unequal in the world. By contrast, in the “Old Continent” the European social model is questioned in both words – i.e. in political discourse – and deeds – the recent austerity driven reforms (Blyth 2013). Welfare state arrangements are considered unsustainable or even undesirable, while the state provision of welfare services and benefits seems under attack with social programs becoming increasingly targeted, segmented, and outsourced. New paradigms such social investment and social innovation, which currently rank high on EU’s and member states’ agenda, do not only challenge the architecture of European welfare states but also jeopardize established relationships between the three “sources of wellbeing” – the market, the state and the family (Esping-Andersen et al., 2002). It has also been argued that the new EU-social policy approaches even promote a fourth source of wellbeing which has been underestimated so far: the community (Jenson, 2014; Evers/Guillemard, 2012). The latter actually constitutes an important source of wellbeing in LAC countries mostly due to (still) high informality of employment (Barrientos, 2004; Wood, 2004; Shark/Gough, 2010) – though the community is only one (and possibly becoming less relevant) of the distinguished features of welfare arrangements in the region, as acknowledged by the scholars who developed classifications of welfare regimes in the region (cf. Filgueira, 1998; Barrientos, 2004; Martinez Franzoni, 2008) by building on the seminal work by Esping-Andersen (1990).

In light of the above, and despite an increasing scholarly attention to social security in different world regions, there is still a lack of studies which analyze the theoretical and empirical insights from this region against the backdrop of the challenges for social security research entailed by current welfare state developments in Europe.

The core questions to be addressed in the session are:

  • What are the main challenges that LAC and EU countries are facing?
  • What are similarities and differences of welfare policy patterns in the two regions? Can we observe convergence, and in case towards which model(s)?
  • Which are the main drivers (demographic transformation, external/international pressures, domestic politics, etc…) of social security developments in the two regions?
  • Can we observe a “diffusion of ideas” between the two regions? Which ideas, through which channels?
  • What are the outcomes, in terms of protection and social cohesion, of recently adopted welfare reforms in the two areas?

The session – which is to be held in English – welcomes theoretical and empirical papers dealing with social security developments, social cohesion and attitudes toward social policies in the LAC region and Europe. The papers can be either comparative – both across regions and within the LAC area – or they can address how European trends influence the policy architectures in the field of social protection and social cohesion, and ultimately welfare regimes in LAC countries – and vice versa. We will prioritize papers that draw links between the LAC region and Europe.


Relazione di apertura

Paolo Graziano
Dipartimento Analisi istituzionale e management pubblico – Università L. Bocconi


Persone di riferimento

Paolo Graziano
Università L. Bocconi
Dipartimento Analisi istituzionale e management pubblico
Telefono: (+39) 02-58363382