The Welfare State amid Crime: How Victimization and Perceptions of Insecurity Affect Social Policy Preferences in Latin America and the Caribbean

Sandra Ley, Profesora Investigadora Titular de la División de Estudios Políticos del CIDE, Melina Altamirano y Sarah Berens, escribieron el artículo The Welfare State amid Crime: How Victimization and Perceptions of Insecurity Affect Social Policy Preferences in Latin America and the Caribbean  publicado en la revista Politics and Society.

 

Abstract

Criminal violence is one of the most pressing problems in Latin America and the Caribbean, with profound political consequences. Its effects on social policy preferences, however, remain largely unexplored. This article argues that to understand such effects it is crucial to analyze victimization experiences and perceptions of insecurity as separate phenomena with distinct attitudinal consequences. Heightened perceptions of insecurity are associated with a reduced demand for public welfare provision, as such perceptions reflect a sense of the state’s failure to provide public security. At the same time, acknowledging the mounting costs and needs that direct experience with crime entails, victimization is expected to increase support for social policies, particularly for health services. Survey data from twenty-four Latin American and Caribbean countries for the period 2008–12 show that perceptions of insecurity indeed reduce support for the state’s role in welfare provision, whereas crime victimization strongly increases such preferences.

 

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