308.2 Social movements and social policy: The Bolivian case

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 12:50 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Santiago ANRIA , University of North Carolina
The influence of social movements on the formation of social policy is challenging to measure.  Yet, recent scholarship shows that social movements do exert significant political influence on social policy formation (Amenta 2003, Andrews 2001).  This presentation shows how the use of process tracing and content analysis allows for assessing the causal influence of movements on social policy formation.  Bolivia’s old-age pension reform, the Renta Dignidad, is an important case for examining the impact of social movements on social policies.  On the one hand, Bolivia can be seen as a political laboratory for the study of social-movement outcomes, as movements have become the dominant form of political engagement in the country in the aftermath of neoliberalism.  At the same time, Bolivia was one of the first Latin American countries to implement a universal old-age pension scheme, which is the outcome of our interest.  We contend that social movements have been critical for determining this outcome.  Indeed, we find that the combination of leftist partisanship and party structure (embodied by the Movement Towards Socialism), policy legacies and, particularly, the influence of progressive social movements, explain the enactment of the universalist-oriented Renta Dignidad.