Social Indicators Research

, Volume 134, Issue 3, pp 955–979 | Cite as

Welfare State Development, Individual Deprivations and Income Inequality: A Cross-Country Analysis in Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Gibrán Cruz-MartínezEmail author


Several scholars have confirmed the role that the welfare state (WS) plays in reducing poverty, promoting equality and ensuring the common wellbeing. One of the limitations of the scholarship has been the conceptualization and operationalization of the WS and poverty as one-dimensional variables. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between welfare state development, single-dimensions deprivations and income inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean, before and after controlling for demographic and cyclical factors. The WS is operationalized as a one-dimensional variable, but also taking into account its multidimensional nature. Three individual deprivations suffered by people on poverty and two income inequality indicators are used as dependent variables. Three pooled time-series cross-section regression analyses with panel-corrected standard errors models were carried out on 18 countries in the region around 2000, 2005 and 2010. This paper shows that the development of social-welfare programs and institutions seems to be an effective way of tackling individual deprivations suffered by people on poverty in the region. On the other hand, the WS development didn’t appear to be effective to reduce income inequality. The outcomes of welfare institutions appear to be the pivotal dimension to reduce income inequality and income deprivations in the region.


Welfare state development Inequality Poverty Latin America and the Caribbean Multidimensional welfare index Redistribution 



This paper is in part possible by funding of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (FPU2009-0069). I would like to thank Manuel Sánchez de Dios, Enrique Delamónica, Alberto Cimadamore and Etienne Nel who provided much appreciated comments on earlier drafts of this article. Research for this work was conducted while the author was a Visiting Fellow at the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (University of Bergen) and at the Institute of Latin American Studies (University of London). Shortcomings, of course, remain my responsibility.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universitetet i AgderKristiansandNorway
  2. 2.Universidad Autónoma de ChileSantiagoChile

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