Riding the wave of a changing tide : the establishment of the welfare state in Argentina and Brazil
Taylor, Justin Michael
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Most recent studies of the welfare state establish a positive correlation between democracy and social spending. However, examination of the history of the welfare state in Argentina and Brazil presents a dissimilar pattern where services were established under authoritarian regimes. This study proposes that two factors were vital in the authoritarian establishment of the welfare state in Latin America: the level of industrialization around the time of the Great Depression and the presence or absence of conservative regimes immediately following the Depression. A most similar systems comparison of Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia suggests that these two factors were important in explaining why the welfare state was established under authoritarian rule. The study concludes that the level of industrialization and post-Depression regime type offer explanatory power, but that democracy also played at least a rhetorical role in the case of Argentina.