Analysis of the emergence of two Chilean Conditional Cash Transfer programmes.

  • Patricio Olivera Zuniga

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The present study analyses Solidarity Chile and Ethical Family Income, two Chilean programmes aiming at tackling extreme poverty by means of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme. The general question is: Why did Chilean policy makers choose the particular features of these programmes to tackle extreme poverty in Chile? To a large extent, the literature which has analysed the CCTs has neglected the role of the ideas in the configuration of this programmes, specifically the role played by the concepts of “poverty”.

For the analysis of these programmes, this thesis examined two related issues; firstly, the policy making process whereby those features were selected; secondly, the meaning of those selected features. To address those issues in an integrated way, the present research study is informed by the Cultural Political Economy (CPE) framework, developed by Bob Jessop and Ngai-Ling Sum. This study is based on qualitative interviews with policy makers who participated in the design process of Solidarity Chile and Ethical Family Income.

This thesis concluded that the policy makers of these two programmes under study, which belong to two different political coalitions in Chile, made two reductions; namely: 1) they understand that poverty depends on the characteristics of the individuals who are in poverty; 2) they set aside other pressing social problems, such as inequality, low salaries among others, placing the focus on extreme poverty. I argue that these two reductions express a particular, albeit hegemonic type of poverty knowledge; therefore, in order to overcome the failures of these two Chilean programmes, it turns out necessary to break away from this limiting perspective of poverty and go beyond an individualist approach.
Date of Award23 Jan 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bristol
SupervisorGregor McLennan (Supervisor) & David Gordon (Supervisor)

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