The Unchallenged System, Social Policy Continuity in Democratic Chile, 1990-1998
INTRODUCTION After democratic breakdown, the government of General Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) promoted a drastic process of social policy retrenchment. Although a great deal of scholarly research has been devoted to understanding Chile's dramatic transformation, almost no attention has been directed to the study of the remarkable continuity of this market-oriented social policy model after the reinstallation of democracy. More interestingly, the redemocratization period has seen no major attempt to lessen or revert the inherited model (Barrett 1999: 16-19; Mesa Lago 1999: 135; Silva 1996: 229). This chapter explains the striking social policy continuity of Chile. It argues that the maintenance of the market-oriented social policy model is explained by the patterns of distribution of governmental authority, the weakness of veto players, and the ideological positions of policy makers.