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Contested universalism: from Bonosol to Renta Dignidad in Bolivia

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Bolivia is the only Latin American country to feature a universal old‐age pension scheme. Though strikingly modest, originating at US$248 per annum, this benefit runs counter to the prevailing targeting paradigm. Ten years after the scheme's controversial start in South America's poorest country, this article is the first to focus on the interesting political economy of the universal benefit. The introduction of the benefit was not motivated by social policy considerations but by the desire to privatise state‐owned enterprises and pensions. Conceived by neoliberal structural reformers, the benefit was challenged first by the international financial institutions and then by Bolivia's developmentalist government, before the latter found a way to reconcile its re‐nationalisation project with a re‐branded universal pension.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Hochschule Mannheim, Germany

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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