Social protection in Chile: Reforms to improve equity

At the beginning of the 1980s, Chile pioneered the implementation in Latin America of structural reforms that fully or partially pr ivatized pensions, health-care and social assistance systems. Implemented without prior social dia- logue, these reforms – which subsequently influenced similar reforms in other coun- tries of the region and elsewhere – led to reduced social solidar ity and equity and intensified poverty and inequality. Over the past 18 years, however, democratic governments have corrected ma ny design faults in the or iginal reform s. The author examines the progress achiev ed and areas of persistent social inequality in terms of coverage, gender balance and funding , and identifies fu ture challenges.