From Right to Reality: Incentives, Labor Markets, and the Challenge of Universal Social Protection in Latin America and the Caribbean
Inequality and entrenched poverty has been decreasing in countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, due in significant part to expansion of social protection programs within the region. Innovations such as well-targeted conditional cash transfer programs and noncontributory pensions or health insurance systems have been adopted by several countries. Yet several challenges remain. The majority of informal sector workers lack access to social protection; programs tend to be fragmented and operate with little or no coordination; and redistributive arrangements are non-transparent and can distort labor markets by inducing informality, lowering labor participation, or producing longer unemployment spells. From Right to Reality: Incentives, Labor Markets, and the Challenge of Universal Social Protection in Latin America and the Caribbean addresses these challenges in a thorough yet accessible manner. Building on careful, detailed analysis of a wealth of data, this book takes stock of current social protection systems in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, highlighting their interaction with labor markets. The book presents an in-depth assessment of the main social protection programs including pensions, health, unemployment insurance, active labor market interventions, and safety net transfers. A central theme is that a well-functioning social protection system must take into account both the realities of labor markets, including high levels of informal sector employment where governments are unable to impose compulsory social insurance, and the effects of policies on the behavior of their beneficiaries, employers, and of service providers. Of interest to policy makers, academics, and practitioners, From Right to Reality presents practical recommendations to expand the coverage of social protection programs, improve their design, and create the conditions for the creation of more and better jobs.