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Diminished Expectations: Redistributive Preferences in Truncated Welfare States

Author(s): Holland, Alisha C.

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Abstract: In Latin America, the relationship between income and support for redistribution is weak and variable despite the region's extreme income inequality. This article shows that this condition is rooted in the truncated structure of many Latin American welfare states. Heavy spending on contributory social insurance for formal-sector workers, flat or regressive subsidies, and informal access barriers mean that social spending does far less for the poor in Latin America than it does in advanced industrial economies. Using public opinion data from across Latin America and original survey data from Colombia, the author demonstrates that income is less predictive of attitudes in the countries and social policy areas in which the poor gain less from social expenditures. Social policy exclusion leads the poor to doubt that they will benefit from redistribution, thereby dampening their support for it. The article reverses an assumption in political economy models that welfare exclusion unleashes demands for greater redistribution. Instead, truncation reinforces skepticism about social policy helping the poor. Welfare state reforms to promote social inclusion are essential to strengthen redistributive coalitions.
Publication Date: 31-Aug-2018
Citation: Holland, AC. (2018). Diminished Expectations. World Politics, 70 (4), 555 - 594. doi:10.1017/S0043887118000096
DOI: doi:10.1017/S0043887118000096
ISSN: 0043-8871
EISSN: 1086-3338
Pages: 1 - 46
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: World Politics
Version: Author's manuscript

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