Social Policy of Our Time?

Child_Labour_Free_Zones_South_AmericaIn Latin America one in five individuals is covered by conditional cash transfers (CCTs). CCTs give social assistance to families conditioned mainly on the children attending schools and regular health checks. In the short run the goal is to alleviate poverty. In the long run the goal is through better health and education get more people in work and thus increase social mobility. However, in the impressive PhD of Johan Sandberg, “Social Policy of Our Time“, the scarce evidence is mixed showing some poverty alleviation and higher attendance in schools and healthcare but less evidence on better nutrition, health and learning outcomes, not to mention social mobility. Professor Alejandro Portes from Princeton University was the discussant of Sandberg’s thesis with Håkan Johansson and Anne-Lisa Lindén from Lund University and me on the assessment committee. There seems to be lessons for Latin America to learn from Europe, especially the Nordic countries, on social mobility and child care and for  the Nordic countries to learn from Latin America of how to reach out to the children of vulnerable families.

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