Comparative-historical Analysis of Aging Policy Reforms in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico

Produced by: 
Universidad Diego Portales
Available from: 
December 2014
Paper author(s): 
Esteban Calvo (Universidad Diego Portales)
Mónica Roque (Government of Argentina)
Fernando Morales (Government of Costa Rica)
Luis Gutierrez (Government of Mexico)
Bernardita Canals (Government of Chile)
Topic: 
Demographic Economics - Migration
Politics and Economy
Year: 
2015

This study reviews developments in national aging policies in four Latin American countries: Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico. Using case studies and a comparative-historical analysis, we focus on social policy reforms aiming to promote the well-being of older adults. We aim to determine whether a common profile of characteristics making up a particular aging policy could be identified across countries, and whether systematic differences between national aging policies could be uncovered. We find that similarities outweight differences. Although the timing and magnitude of the changes differ, historical trends are largely similar in substance: The initial charity-based approach to poverty and illness has been gradually replaced by a rights-based approach to broader notions of well being, which have been formally promoted by newly created national aging offices. Current reforms are at different levels of development and emphasize diverse themes, but they advance in largely similar directions across the countries analyzed: Heavily influenced by the 2002 Madrid Plan, current reforms emphasize the need of intersectoral policies of national scope, with active participants of older adults, including specific efforts to train specialized professional on aging, and implementing the first steps toward building evidence based policy. Results from this project have implications for understanding aging policy in Latin America and informing the reforms currently being implemented in developing countries worldwide.

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