Latin America has made significant social progress over the last decades. Poverty has almost halved since the 1990s, owing to fast-paced economic growth fueled by the commodities boom of the 2000s and progress in social policy over the last decades.
The pace of improvement, however, has ground to a halt in the past few years, and governments are now looking to rein in public spending.
This book leverages social network analysis to identify specific actors in the decision-making process and understand their relations and relative power. Through comparative case studies, it explains how social policy-making processes actually work and why formal institutional designs may not, and it reveals with whom one must connect to attain specific aims. The case studies (Argentina, The Bahamas, Bolivia, and Trinidad and Tobago) represent macro-institutional differences in political regime types, state structures, and party systems. The case study countries differ in size and economic and social indicators, and vary in micro-institutional variables such as bureaucratic systems, from the Whitehall-type bureaucracies of the Caribbean to clientelistic South American cases.