How 'liberal' are Latin American welfare regimes?

Armando Barrientos, Martin Powell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Esping-Andersen (1990) identified three core ‘types’ of welfare regime: liberal, conservative and social democratic. Liberal welfare regimes privilege market solutions to social problems. The canonical Liberal welfare regime is characterised by a mix of residual social assistance, moderate social insurance and citizenship-based transfers. In the middle of the twentieth century welfare institutions in Latin America reflected an incipient conservative welfare regime. At the turn of the new century, large scale reforms appear to have shifted welfare institutions in the region towards a liberal welfare regime. Individual retirement accounts introduced private and market pension schemes in several countries. Rapid expansion of social assistance provision represents further movement towards a liberal welfare regime. This chapter revisits the ‘canonical’ liberal welfare regime, assesses the extent to which welfare institutions in Latin America have become ‘liberal’ and examines potential implications for theories of welfare development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLatin American social policy developments in the twenty-first century
EditorsNatália Sátyro, Eloísa del Pino, Midaglia Carmen
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9783030612702
ISBN (Print)9783030612696
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Latin America
  • social policy
  • welfare regime
  • liberal

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Global Development Institute


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