The Roles of Family and the Welfare State in the Reception of Public Assistance by the Elderly In Three Latin American Countries

Gilbert Brenes-Camacho, Universidad de Costa Rica
Luis Rosero-Bixby, Universidad de Costa Rica

Welfare regimes in Latin America have been classified into three groups: state-productivist, state-protectionist, and familist. The state-protectionist regime is characterized by strong involvement of public institutions into the provision of social support to vulnerable populations such as the elderly. However, social support from the family is still prevalent in the region. The goal of this paper is to study the roles of the Welfare institutions and of the family in the support of the elderly. We analyze three countries that belong to the state-protectionist regime: Uruguay, Costa Rica, and Mexico. We find that number of children is associated with receiving money transfers, especially among women, but earning a pension makes a larger difference. In Mexico, number of children is associated with out-of-pocket medical expenses among the non-insured, but in Uruguay and Costa Rica, free health insurance for the destitute was strongly linked with not paying for medical services.

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Presented in Session 145: The Elderly and their Kin: The Family, the Market and the State