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Social Panorama of Latin America 2000–2001

image of Social Panorama of Latin America 2000–2001

The social situation in Latin America in the late 1990s was influenced by the slowdown and greater volatility of economic growth. Despite the economic recovery seen in 2000, the effects of the contraction were felt in many countries of the region. This publication devotes special attention to poverty trends and rates in the late 1990s, inequality in income distribution, the employment and unemployment situation, the countries' progress in raising social expenditure and the distributive effects of such increases. In it's final chapter, this publication reviews the Governments' agenda in relation to family issues. The analyses of each of the topics covered in the five chapters that make up the Social Panorama combine an examination of the latest trends in the main social indicators with an assessment of the trends seen throughout the 1990s.

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Introduction

ECLAC has often highlighted three general objectives for social expenditure in the region. Bearing in mind the importance of the distributive effect of public resources allocated to the social sectors, it has stressed the need to: (i) intensify efforts to raise social expenditure and consolidate its recovery, given that it has been quite low in the countries of the region and fell sharply during the 1980s; (ii) stabilize social allocations in order to forestall the serious adverse effects of spending cuts during economic downturns, and (iii) target public social expenditure more accurately and heighten its positive impact, especially in the case of vulnerable or poor groups, by reallocating available funds to those components that have the most progressive influence on income distribution.

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