Income support and social protection in Latin America and the Caribbean: debates on policy options

In the area of social protection systems, the Latin American and Caribbean region is characterized by structural gaps in coverage and sufficiency, owed especially to widespread labour informality. To offset these deficits, the region has accumulated vast experience in social protection through the introduction of cash and in-kind transfers as non-contributory social protection.
In addition, in light of the profound impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and an unfavourable economic and labour context, the discussion on mechanisms for ensuring adequate income levels in the region has become central. This paper seeks to address the income protection dimension of social protection systems, exploring various instruments and policy options discussed in recent years from a comparative and regional perspective, focusing on their non-contributory component. By exploring their possible costs, it also analyses the feasibility of advancing progressively in various income protection modalities.