Social Security in Latin America
During the last quarter century, the most signiﬁcant social policy transformation in Latin America has been pension and health care reforms. Total [End Page 181] or partial pension privatization has spread to twelve countries in the region, inﬂuenced similar changes in Central and Eastern Europe, and become a point of reference in the debate on reform in some Western European countries and the United States. Health care reforms have been implanted in all countries but with less impact abroad. The seven books reviewed in this essay address these issues; two of them also treat unemployment and education, reforms of lesser importance that will not be treated here due to space limitations. Five of the books are edited collections. In total there are more than sixty authors and thirteen countries involved, as well as different approaches to the reforms, therefore, it is impossible in this essay to do justice to these books, let alone touch on all contributions.
The books deal with the following topics: the inﬂuence of foreign models in general, and speciﬁcally in the pension reforms of Argentina and Brazil, as well as the health reforms in Colombia and Mexico (Weyland); politics of health care reform in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru (Kaufman and Nelson); relationship between the labor market and employment with social security coverage, focusing on Argentina, Chile and Uruguay (Bertranou); evaluation by three World Bank experts of the results of structural pension reforms in ten Latin American countries in the last decade (Gill, Packard, and Yermo); Chile's pension reform within the Latin American context (OIT); health care innovations involving the private sector and their effects in ﬁve Central American countries (La Forgia); and health care reform in Bolivia (World Bank).
The 1994 World Bank report, Averting the Old Age Crisis: Policies to Protect the Old and Promote Growth, eventually became the world paradigm for structural pension reforms that totally or partially privatized public systems. The Chilean reform of 1981 preceded said report and together with the international ﬁnancial institutions (IFIs: the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and Inter-American Development Bank ) inﬂuenced similar structural reforms in nine other Latin American countries in 1993–2006: Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay. Ecuadorian and Nicaraguan structural reform laws had not been implemented by the end of...