4932 - Decentralized social services and inequity of opportunities in Chile: a critical analysis.

Education and health services constitute some of the most essential public goods that governments can provide, because they accomplish essential national purposes, such as equality of opportunity and development. In Chile , an important proportion of social expenditure is carried out by local governments and services delivery’ outcomes are frequently contested. Taking the cases of schooling and primary health care services, the article discusses the tension between decentralization and inequity of opportunity outcomes. It describes and reviews critically the main aspects of the social sectors municipalization process in Chile , highlighting the link of decentralization issues and the “level-playing-field” conception of equality of opportunity . This work illustrates the difficulty of balancing t he assignment of powers to municipal levels of governments in Chile , which has inhibited objectives and influenced patterns of decentralization policy results. In addition, although the re is evidence of improvements in both equity and efficiency in decentralized service administration, it suggests that to achieve equal opportunity to all Chilean citizens a better understanding of decentralization scope and outcomes should be evaluated through specific information to be used in public policies of “opportunity equalization” and in instruments to reduce decentralization’s inequities effects.

Palabras claves: inequity of opportunity, social services, local government, Chile., Decentralization

Autores: Aziz dos Santos, Cristina (The University of Melbourne, Australia / Australien)


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