This article introduces a special section focusing on the social policy reforms of recent years in Latin America. The essay identifies and discusses the principal trends and challenges in social policy in the region since the 1980s, before providing a summary of the special section and linking up the themes of the four contributions that follow. These highlight the variety of approaches adopted, as well as the differing assessments of recent developments. The authors note that while the reform process itself is unfolding, it is striking that social policy has become a highly visible and contested issue in the region
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