Costa Rica‘s Social Policy Response to Covid-19: Strengthening Universalism During the Pandemic?
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With its strong public healthcare system and social security regime, Costa Rica was better prepared to face the Covid-19 pandemic than most countries in the Global South. However, the pandemic hit at a time when its social policy regime had already been weakened by three decades of neoliberal inspired policies. Since the first Covid-19 case was identified in March 2020, the country implemented a series of legislative and institutional measures in different social policy areas that sought to build on the country’s institutional heritage to provide social protection to its population. In this report, we analyze whether these measures represented more focalized temporary “band-aid” measures or were inspired by the historic commitment to universal social policy. For this, we first describe the social policy measures taken during the Covid-19 crisis. Then we focus on three key policy areas – health, pensions, social assistance, to analyze whether these measures positively or negatively affect universalism in Costa Rica, understood as a multidimensional concept. We find that Costa Rica’s initial quick, and later unsure measures took two paths: A first set of measures in explicit response to Covid-19, and a second set was aimed at guaranteeing the continuity of the country’s universal social security system.
- Repositorio IIS