World Bank Country Studies

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Country Studies are published with approval of the subject government to communicate the results of the Bank's work on the economic and related conditions of member countries to governments and to the development community. This series as been superseded by the World Bank Studies series.

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    Household Risk Management and Social Protection in Chile
    (Washington, DC, 2005) World Bank
    This volume takes a critical look at the country's social protection "system" - broadly defined to include policy interventions, public institutions, and the regulation of private institutions that lower the welfare costs of adverse shocks to income from job loss and extended unemployment, health episodes, old age, and life-time poverty - to determine if a system exists or simply a set of loosely coordinated programs. The study also assesses whether households are provided with appropriate tools to mitigate risks to their income, identifying gaps in coverage and where instruments are missing. As well, the study provides the Government with a set of guidelines grounded in a conceptual framework that, if carefully applied, could increase the effectiveness of social protection. The author of the study finds that Chile succeeds in providing households with the instruments that they need to mitigate shocks to income. The institutions Chile has put in place to help households lower losses from these shocks - from the new unemployment insurance system, the retirement security system and the mixed health insurance system - are generally appropriately designed to match the nature of the risks they are intended to cover. Yet, while still in a minority, too many Chilean households - even among the non poor - do not have access to the sophisticated, state of the art social protection institutions that are in place.
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    Chile's High Growth Economy : Poverty and Income Distribution, 1987-1998
    (Washington, DC, 2002) World Bank
    The present study focuses on four main objectives. First, it presents an update of poverty, and income distribution measures, reported in 1997 by the Bank; second, it looks at deficiencies in social services, and how to improve social services targeted to the poor; third, it considers how trends in income distribution could be modified, if taking into account the transfer effect of social programs; and, fourth, it looks at some special issues that impact on poverty, namely unemployment, and the problems of indigenous peoples. Given the relatively high levels of unemployment, the persistence in educational deficits, and the low coverage of social programs amongst the poor, recommendations suggest, respectively, a focus on relevant, job creation aspects, in line with labor market demands, not merely responsive to the renewed economic growth, to include as well, further labor code, and unemployment insurance system reforms; efforts to consolidate, and intensify the quality, and equity in education, particularly tertiary education to advance Chile's human capital; and, improved targeting of social programs, with attention to regional disparities in the allocation of social spending, particularly as it regards poverty among indigenous communities.