We thank Elizabeth Pérez Chiques and Sergio Campos for his or her useful feedback on an earlier model of this manuscript introduced on the Public Administration Division seminar at CIDE. We’d additionally prefer to thank Pablo Ibarrarán and Marco Stampini of the InterAmerican Growth Financial institution for concepts and questions that sparked our analysis, in addition to two nameless reviewers for his or her insightful and constructive suggestions. Cejudo thanks Columbia College’s Institute for Latin American Research, the place he was a visiting scholar whereas writing this text. He’s additionally grateful to the New York Public Library’s Heart for Analysis within the Humanities. 

1The COVID-19 pandemic made heavy calls for on governments’ capacities. The unprecedented public-health disaster posed formidable challenges for public administrations world wide (Boin et al., 2020). Governments needed to reorganize processes swiftly and made use of outdated and new capacities to deal with a set of complicated issues (Peña et al., 2020). This simultaneous deployment of coverage responses permits for comparative analyses that make clear the explanations for commonalities and dissimilarities in nations’ reactions to rising issues (Liu & Geva-Might, 2021), in addition to on the capacities required for doing so (Dunlop et al., 2020), significantly in growing nations the place these capacities can’t be taken without any consideration.

2In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), along with the general public well being emergency, governments confronted an financial disaster and a rise in poverty. In response, they made in depth use of money switch packages (CTPs) aimed toward compensating for the short-term lack of revenue, albeit with large variations. These variations will be defined by political and ideological preferences, fiscal circumstances, coverage legacies, and even broader institutional elements, reminiscent of ranges of democracy or decentralization (Baccini & Brodeur, 2020; Béland & Schlager, 2019; Rozell & Wilcox, 2020). However the kind of intervention chosen, governments have been additionally constrained by their present coverage capacities.

3On this paper, we research how coverage capacities enabled LAC nations to reply to the social and financial penalties of the pandemic, with money switch packages to deal with reductions in employment and revenue. We construct on Capano et al. (2020)’s understanding of coverage capacities within the face of the pandemic as a mixture of authorities expertise and preparedness to reply to an emergency. We argue that coverage capacities should not solely context-specific but additionally task-specific. They don’t seem to be generic belongings invaluable for addressing every kind of coverage points in any respect moments of the coverage course of. Within the case of the social safety response, the problem was particular: governments wanted to find out the attributes of the households or individuals that may profit from a money switch, establish who they have been, and have the ability to deploy the sources to achieve them. By analyzing 122 CTPs, carried out in 27 nations from the start of the pandemic till March 2021, we clarify how completely different mixtures of coverage capacities enabled governments to achieve their populations (outdated and new beneficiaries) in response to this emergency by making use of their expertise implementing CTPs and the knowledge gathered over time.

4In fact, we don’t state that capacities have been the only real cause behind these responses. Neither will we argue that larger capacities resulted in well-designed interventions and even in efficient responses to the pandemic: we don’t search to evaluate the causal hyperlink between coverage capacities and the design of those interventions or their effectiveness. Our purpose is less complicated: we present how mixtures of coverage capacities enabled several types of responses.

5The paper is structured as follows. Within the first part, we discover the related literature on coverage capacities. We then clarify our analytical framework and methodological selections. After operationalizing each dimensions of capability (expertise and preparedness), we group nations by their configuration of capacities and varieties of response. We then concentrate on particular CTPs to exemplify the completely different pathways linking capacities and coverage responses. We conclude with a dialogue of how these findings work together with the literature on coverage capacities, and with concepts for additional comparative analysis.

6Latin America has skilled a major growth in social coverage within the final twenty years (Blofield, 2019). There are three elements generally recognized within the literature as determinants for this growth. The consolidation of democratic regimes allowed for a various array of actors to mobilize in favor of a extra prolonged social coverage. The favorable financial circumstances ensuing from the commodity increase enabled governments to deal with such calls for. And coverage legacies formed the character of the coverage growth by defining wants and various options (Arza et al., 2022).

7The COVID-19 pandemic, in distinction to this regular expansionary wave, required simultaneous, efficient responses from quite a few coverage sectors. But nations weren’t all equally geared up for doing so: not all governments had entry to the identical coverage choices in the identical method once they have been required. Consequently, social coverage responses different throughout the area. But, these variations should not essentially defined by the identical elements that formed the gradual growth developed over twenty years. Certainly, Blofield (2021) argues that three elements account for variation within the social coverage responses to the pandemic: social gathering legacies, divided authorities, and financial area.

8In fact, political preferences and financial sources might clarify the intention and the fiscal and political leeway for a response. However any CTP put in place would should be carried out, and thus require a paperwork geared up to establish eligible populations and to ship the switch. As Capano et al. (2020) argue from a public coverage perspective, the managerial and organizational sources that governments had at their disposal when the pandemic hit influenced their response to the disaster. There have been nations characterised by their preparedness to face pandemics with some having had comparable experiences that resulted in lifelike, prudent, and secure public well being responses (see Yen et al., 2022). However, different nations have been ill-prepared and, having no related expertise, lacked the abilities to make selections to mitigate, or successfully deal with, the issues related to the pandemic. The authors establish governments’ preparedness for a pandemic and their expertise in dealing with comparable conditions as two dimensions of coverage capability.

9Coverage capability must be distinguished from associated ideas reminiscent of state capability. These ideas come from completely different fields, every specializing in completely different dimensions of such potential to implement a coverage, however with overlapping implications. Within the literature on comparative politics, the notion of state capability is related to the constructions that set out the ability techniques by which a state controls its territory, extracts income, allocates sources, and performs important state features (Besley & Persson, 2009; Soifer, 2015; DeRouen et al., 2010; Duarte, 2014).

10From the literature on public coverage and administration, alternatively, coverage capability is thought to be the power of bureaucratic constructions to carry out the mandatory features all through the coverage course of to deal with public points. Coverage capability entails a mix of abilities (analytical, operational, and political), at completely different ranges (particular person, organizational, and systemic) alongside the coverage cycle (Wu et al., 2015). Analytical capability is the power of governmental actors to amass and apply information concerning the job they need to carry out, by a studying course of inside coverage arenas (Dunlop, 2015, p. 2015; Howlett, 2015; Pattyn & Brans, 2015). Operational capability is the power of governmental actors to deploy and develop the executive sources which can be key to the duty they’re to carry out, by studying from the expertise of governmental and non-governmental actors (Dunlop & Radaelli, 2018). Political capability is the power to know the related pursuits and ideologies by the event of studying relationships between each governmental and non-governmental actors, and the general public (Dunlop, 2015; Pal & Clark, 2015).

11Each state and coverage capability allow efficient coverage implementation, however for various causes. A authorities with excessive state capability could possibly finance the mandatory infrastructure to offer well being providers effectively all through its territory with out political constraints, and but this might be inadequate to deal with a public health-related problem in the event that they lacked the coverage capability to design a triage system that permits for efficient and well timed diagnoses, for instance, or to translate into follow scientific and technological breakthroughs. Furthermore, completely different ranges of coverage capability might exist in numerous public businesses inside the identical state, even when these businesses are a part of the identical coverage space (i.e., major care clinics will be extra environment friendly and efficient than medical facilities that present secondary-level providers). Lastly, coverage capability might fluctuate rapidly over time: a rustic might have a poor public well being response within the preliminary levels of the pandemic, however an efficient and correctly carried out vaccination technique months later.

12Thus, coverage capacities are dynamic and context-specific, not generic belongings invaluable for addressing every kind of coverage points (Dunlop et al., 2020). Within the case of the social safety response to the pandemic, the problem was particular: governments not solely wanted budgets and political assist for deploying CTPs; they wanted to find out the attributes of the households or individuals that may profit from a money switch, to establish who they have been, and to have the ability to deploy the (bureaucratic, monetary, and logistic) sources to achieve them. Thus, having socioeconomic details about the inhabitants, and governmental businesses with abilities to make use of it, was essential for conducting these duties. Furthermore, the pertinence of particular capacities is determined by the kind of response: Increasing an present program to incorporate further beneficiaries or growing the quantity given to present recipients just isn’t equal to making a brand-new program.

13To include the dynamic and context-specific nature of coverage capacities into the evaluation of LAC’s response, we constructed on Capano et al.’s understanding of coverage capacities as “the managerial and organizational sources” (preparedness) and the “ranges of present abilities and competences” (expertise) that every authorities has to face public points (Capano et al., 2020, p. 298). We depend on this notion of coverage capacities since we purpose to look at these capacities not in a vacuum, however in a selected disaster. As Toshkov et al. (2022) put it, “the way in which governments have reacted to the outbreak is a operate of the capacities and traits of the general public administrative system already in place”.

14Past the general public well being response, nations had to deal with the dramatic lack of revenue because of the suspension of financial exercise (Gentilini et al., 2021). LAC nations carried out CTPs and this alternative demanded particular coverage capacities. By definition, a CTP entails delivering a profit to people. This can’t happen until there may be details about who these people are and the place they are often reached. Coverage capability for deploying CTP responses means a selected type of preparedness: having the informational sources to achieve the goal inhabitants. It additionally means a selected type of expertise: realizing the best way to implement CTPs is the product of a paperwork acquainted with this sort of program.

15When the pandemic hit, many nations discovered that some primary info for policymaking was non-existent, or always altering, rendering governments unprepared to behave (Boin et al., 2020). For a social coverage response, having info is essential to establish residents, their location and revenue, and their potential eligibility. With out this ready-to-use info, governments wouldn’t have been capable of finding the people who they meant to assist, or would have needed to retort to burdensome practices to acquire this new info (Barca & Hebbar, 2021; Chudnovsky & Peeters, 2022; Lee & Zhang, 2017; Muralidharan et al., 2016). We contemplate that the informational instruments that governments had at their disposal to reply, and the mechanisms for info gathering and use, correspond to this notion of preparedness.

16Nonetheless, a authorities might have the instruments and never know the best way to use them. Capano et al.’s (2020) understanding of coverage capability contains the know-how that comes from the expertise of implementing a sure kind of program. Certainly, governments and their businesses additionally require key abilities that allow them to make strategic use of accessible info to achieve their desired outcomes. In unusual circumstances, policymaking requires organizations and officers with the power to evaluate present alternate options, or to assist positions already adopted (Landry et al., n.d.) by realizing the best way to decipher a difficulty, entry info, and apply information (Dunlop & Radaelli, 2018; Howlett, 2015). In occasions of disaster, having expertise is much more vital as a result of individuals and organizations search to interpret occasions and eventualities when emergencies come up. To supply coverage, public officers resort to the know-how of their “governance companions” to study concerning the functioning of a service (Dunlop & Radaelli, 2018; Pierre & Peters, 2006). With out expertise, public officers’ abilities are extra restricted and the vary of coverage options they could envision narrower, since individuals and organizations act primarily based on their (shared) gathered information and established routines: they depend on decisions which can be acquainted to them as a result of they have been actions carried out beforehand, or processes presently at work (McConnell & Drennan, 2006; Weick, 2001). Thus, we undertake Capano et al.’s (2020) definition of coverage capability as a mixture of preparedness and expertise to look at CTP responses in LAC, exploring whether or not there was info on potential beneficiaries in place and if governments had expertise of implementing CTPs.

17To research how LAC governments deployed their capacities to implement CTPs in response to the pandemic, we supply out a mixed-methods analysis design, combining quantitative and qualitative knowledge (Ivankova et al., 2006) whereas answering complementary however distinct questions (Hendren et al., 2022). To establish LAC nations’ coverage response and analyze how coverage capacities have been used, we mix quantitative details about the quantity, kind, and protection of the CTPs carried out in every nation, with qualitative details about the method by which governments recognized beneficiaries and delivered transfers. We combine this info utilizing a sequential explanatory design (Ivankova et al., 2006) with two phases: a quantitative part (knowledge about packages), adopted by a qualitative part (quick case research about the usage of capacities within the implementation of varieties of response), in order that findings from particular CTPs will assist in contextualizing the quantitative knowledge and in offering an evaluation of how patterns recognized within the first part took place. Our evaluation of those packages, inside their nationwide contexts, permits us to “reply ‘how’ questions that transcend numerical representations of relationships and developments” (Hendren et al., 2022).

  • 1 Of the 33 nations in LAC, we exclude those who didn’t reply with a CTP (Cuba and Nicaragua) a (…)

18Within the first part, we gathered cross-sectional details about LAC nations’ responses to the socioeconomic results of the pandemic. Primarily based on earlier systematizations (Cejudo et al., 2020; ECLAC, 2020a; Gentilini et al., 2020; Rubio et al. 2020a; Rubio et al., 2020b), we included these packages carried out by nationwide governments from March 2020 to March 2021 that transferred cash (in money or vouchers). We recognized 122 packages in 27 nations.1 We categorised these as new interventions, vertical expansions (will increase in present packages’ cost dimension), and horizontal expansions (will increase in protection). For every, we collected info from official web sites, governments’ social media, and press protection concerning the variety of beneficiaries, in addition to details about how they chose (processing purposes and establishing eligibility) and reached beneficiaries (finding the goal inhabitants and selecting the cost mechanism). This systematization was carried out in Cejudo et al. (2021).

19With this info, we make a comparative evaluation of how coverage capacities enabled LAC governments to launch new, or increase present, CTPs. To take action, we develop a working definition for observing coverage capacities in follow, primarily based on the analytical framework developed by Capano et al. (2020). We then establish patterns of relationship amongst these dimensions of coverage capability (expertise and preparedness), on the one hand, and varieties of innovation (new program, vertical or horizontal growth) and their protection on the opposite.

20Then, to know how these capacities have been deployed, within the second part we develop transient analyses of particular CTPs, primarily based on official data, press stories, and, when obtainable, scholarly literature. We chosen CTPs to characterize the assorted varieties of response related to the provision of coverage capacities. By doing this, we reveal how every intervention was enabled by the capacities that governments had earlier than the pandemic and, as well as, how some governments compensated for his or her lack of those capacities. We don’t declare a causal relationship (because the determinants of those expansions are past the attain of this text), however we present that the prevailing capacities enabled particular varieties of response however not others.

21We use expertise in implementing CTPs and preparedness for adapting them for brand new functions as dimensions of coverage capability (Capano et al., 2020). On this part, we develop working definitions of expertise, preparedness, and coverage response, and clarify how we observe these.

22The related expertise for deploying CTPs is the information that governments have about the best way to implement them, which is a product of getting a paperwork familiarized with this sort of program. To operationalize our working definition of expertise, we use details about whether or not a authorities had a CTP in place earlier than the pandemic started. We take into consideration the longest-running nationwide CTP with at the very least 1.5% protection within the final obtainable 12 months, in response to the Non-contributory Social Safety Applications Database by ECLAC (2020b). We exclude social pensions and productive-inclusion packages, as a result of our focus is on interventions to compensate for the lack of revenue no matter individuals’s job standing. We use solely ongoing CTPs since, though some nations have been implementing them for a few years, their termination or substitution often means dropping or diminishing coverage capacities (when administrative processes are dismantled and personnel are dismissed).

23Being ready for deploying CTP responses implies that a authorities has the informational sources to establish and attain the goal inhabitants. To measure preparedness, we have a look at nations’ social-protection info obtainable earlier than the pandemic, primarily based on a database on the usage of social-protection info techniques in the course of the pandemic (Cejudo et al., 2021).2 Social-protection info techniques often include social registries, which comprise details about potential CTP beneficiaries, and beneficiary registries, which comprise details about present beneficiaries in a number of databases (Barca, 2017; Leite et al., 2017). We operationalize preparedness because the protection of the supply of knowledge with the biggest variety of beneficiaries (social registries or the biggest ongoing CTPs). We can’t have a look at how exact and up-to-date this info is, however solely on the variety of individuals included.

  • 3 Our measure of protection may differ from the inhabitants that really benefited since some program (…)

24To handle reductions in revenue in tens of millions of households in LAC in the course of the pandemic, nations responded with money switch packages (CTPs). We operationalize CTP protection because the variety of beneficiaries that this system introduced would profit, divided by the nation’s inhabitants. To measure nationwide protection, we add up the protection of all of the packages in every nation. Nationwide protection might exceed the variety of beneficiaries since one particular person may have acquired multiple program3.

25This indicator assumes that the extra people who benefited, the higher. Nevertheless, it doesn’t account for the amount of cash being transferred. The latter is clearly related, however it might be extra indicative of governments’ fiscal capability than of their coverage capability for reaching individuals.

26By early March 2021, 122 CTPs have been created or modified in 27 LAC nations to achieve, on common, quite a lot of beneficiaries equal to 23.8% of their populations. But the attain of those packages different extensively. Chile, Bolivia, Perú, and the Dominican Republic reached 40% or extra of their inhabitants. However, 10 nations within the area responded with packages reaching lower than 10%. On this part, we describe these variations in protection, and the capacities that LAC governments had for implementing CTPs, and establish patterns ensuing from the interplay of capacities and varieties of response.

27Determine 1 reveals the variety of individuals reached by all of the CTPs carried out in every nation, divided by its inhabitants. The bars are made up of the protection of every program. Bolivia is the nation with the biggest protection, with direct beneficiaries equal to 106.8% since individuals may have acquired multiple program. Certainly, Bono contra el Hambre in Bolivia (one of many largest CTPs within the area) was explicitly designed to achieve beneficiaries of a earlier CTP in response to the pandemic (Bono Common), in addition to further beneficiaries.

28These responses not solely different of their protection; in addition they took completely different kinds. Some nations elevated the amount of cash transferred to present beneficiaries (vertical expansions), others elevated the variety of beneficiaries of present packages (horizontal expansions), and others launched new interventions. As Determine 1 reveals, the commonest social safety response to the pandemic was the creation of recent CTPs. A complete of 27 nations launched 95 new packages — on common, 3.5 CTPs per nation, starting from eight in Argentina and Chile to at least one in Mexico. 9 governments opted to increase 18 CTPs vertically, whereas seven nations carried out horizontal expansions in 9 of their CTPs.

Determine 1: Variety of direct beneficiaries divided by the inhabitants of CTP responses to the pandemic in every LAC nation by kind of innovation.

Figure 1: Number of direct beneficiaries divided by the population of CTP responses to the pandemic in each LAC country by type of innovation.

Be aware: The dotted line signifies the common variety of direct beneficiaries divided by the inhabitants.

Supply: Authors’ elaboration, with knowledge from Cejudo et al. (2021).

29As is obvious in Determine 1, CTPs weren’t an uncommon response. Quite the opposite, LAC nations had an extended custom of implementing them (Rawlings, 2005). This expertise, as argued earlier than, allowed bureaucracies to develop abilities that enabled them to implement emergency responses. Determine 2 reveals how most governments already had expertise of implementing CTPs earlier than the pandemic started, some with packages launched greater than 15 years earlier. The typical variety of years {that a} nation has been implementing an ongoing CTP is 10.4 (14.1 if solely these 20 nations with a CTP are thought-about). Seven nations with out an ongoing CTP in place get a rating of 0.

Determine 2: Variety of years nations have been implementing their ongoing CTPs earlier than the pandemic started.

Figure 2: Number of years countries have been implementing their ongoing CTPs before the pandemic began.

Be aware: We don’t contemplate Mexico’s Progresa-Oportunidades-Prospera program because it was eradicated in 2019.

Supply: Authors’ elaboration, with knowledge from ECLAC (2020b).

  • 4 A complete of 11 out of those 20 nations additionally had a single beneficiary registry.

30But, as mentioned earlier, launching a CTP additionally requires details about the goal inhabitants. LAC nations had several types of social safety info system (Barca, 2017; Leite et al., 2017) within the type of both a social registry or registries of an ongoing CTP. Determine 3 reveals, for every nation, the supply of knowledge with the biggest variety of individuals included in it. In 14 nations, social registries have been the knowledge sources with essentially the most registrants, whereas in six nations they have been the registries of the continuing CTPs.4 Seven nations didn’t have both. On common, the biggest supply of knowledge was 33.1% (44.6% if solely these 20 nations with any of those are thought-about).

Determine 3: Pre-existing ranges of preparation (social-protection info).

Figure 3: Pre-existing levels of preparation (social-protection information).

Supply: Authors’ elaboration, with knowledge from Berner & Van Hemelryck (2020) and Cejudo et al. (2021).

31Coverage capacities allow coverage responses, they don’t decide them. Which means that coverage capacities set the upper restrict of what’s doable within the meant response when it comes to protection, but additionally concerning the kind of response (kind of innovation). On this subsection, we present the interplay between protection of the responses, the scale of coverage capability (expertise and preparedness), and the kind of innovation, to establish patterns throughout nations.

32Primarily based on variations in protection, expertise, and preparedness, we distinguish between three teams of nations (see Determine 4 and Desk 1). The primary group consists of governments with expertise of implementing an ongoing CTP, whose responses had protection at the very least as giant as their supply of knowledge. These nations seem in Determine 4 with a dotted line and with their names in daring. This group contains 13 nations that already knew the best way to implement a CTP and had the knowledge to achieve individuals. This might have allowed them to focus on particular populations, to entry banking info or cost mechanisms simply, and so to switch the profit expeditiously. Chile’s response reached quite a lot of beneficiaries equal to the protection of its social registry (round 75% of its inhabitants). In the meantime, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Uruguay reached a quantity far under what its largest supply of knowledge would have allowed.

33The second group contains nations with expertise, whose responses reached extra individuals than these included of their largest supply of earlier info. On this group, seven nations seem in Determine 4 with their names in daring (as a result of they’d expertise) and a steady line (as a result of they reached greater than the variety of registrants of their info supply). Nations reminiscent of El Salvador, Panama, and Paraguay reached considerably extra individuals than these included of their social registries. In the meantime, there are three nations (Belize, Guatemala, and Jamaica) that didn’t have a social registry in any respect however had expertise of implementing an ongoing CTP, which may have enabled them to acquire details about potential beneficiaries. Though Bolivia has a social registry, its protection was decrease than its ongoing CTP. Bolivia’s response was essentially the most excellent case: it launched 4 packages with an combination quantity equal to 106.8% of its inhabitants, virtually two occasions larger than the protection of its ongoing CTP (54.1%).

34Lastly, within the third group, there are seven nations with out an ongoing CTP (no expertise) and with no obtainable info, and but they managed to design and implement a brand new intervention, even when the variety of beneficiaries was small. These nations reached quite a lot of direct beneficiaries smaller than 10% of the inhabitants (aside from Guyana which reached 19.8%). Regardless of their lack of expertise, these governments managed to reply both by utilizing various administrative data (whether or not from packages’ registries or from non-social registries, reminiscent of schooling and labor knowledge) or by counting on people offering their very own knowledge when making purposes.

Determine 4: Coverage capacities and CTPs responses by LAC nations.

Figure 4: Policy capacities and CTPs responses by LAC countries.

Be aware: Nations in daring are those who had expertise implementing a CTP.

Supply: Authors’ elaboration, with knowledge from Berner & Van Hemelyrck (2020), Cejudo et al. (2020) and Cejudo et al. (2021).

Desk 1. Configuration of expertise and preparedness in CTP responses.

Nations with expertise

Nations with out expertise

CTPs reached fewer individuals than the variety of people of their registries

13 nations:

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay

Not noticed

CTPs reached extra individuals than the variety of people of their registries

7 nations:

Belize, Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Panama, and Paraguay

7 nations:

Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, and Saint Vincent

Supply: Authors’ elaboration.

35Not solely was protection of the response completely different between nations, but additionally the varieties of response different (new packages, vertical or horizontal expansions). Even inside the identical nation, governments carried out several types of innovation. Completely different mixtures of capacities enabled governments to design new interventions, in addition to to hold out actions to enroll beneficiaries (reminiscent of processing purposes and figuring out eligibility) and to ship the advantages (finding the goal inhabitants and selecting the cost mechanism) (see Figures 5 and 6). By definition, all vertical and horizontal expansions required an ongoing CTP and thus occurred in nations with expertise of implementing this type of program.

36All 18 CTPs that have been vertically expanded used present info, since they have been focusing on individuals already enrolled. Most horizontal expansions additionally relied on the obtainable info (seven out of 9 to establish and enroll beneficiaries, and 6 to ship advantages), however others didn’t: as an illustration, Guatemala gathered new info to establish potential beneficiaries, whereas Belize used it to ship the cash by a brand new utility.

Determine 5: Coverage capacities for choosing beneficiaries.

Figure 5: Policy capacities for selecting beneficiaries.

Notes: The dotted line signifies the common variety of direct beneficiaries divided by the inhabitants. This graph presents the protection of every nation by adding-up every of its packages. Colours point out whether or not every program used prior info to pick out beneficiaries. This prior info may come from social registries, CTP registries or different administrative sources of knowledge (reminiscent of labor or academic registries). Some packages solely used this earlier info, whereas others needed to collect new details about potential beneficiaries receiving purposes from individuals. Nations in daring are those who had expertise implementing a CTP.

Supply: Authors’ elaboration, with knowledge from Cejudo et al. (2021).

37All 27 nations carried out at the very least one new program. To take action, 74.7% of those new interventions used earlier info to pick out beneficiaries, and 44.2% for delivering the money switch. All however seven nations had expertise of implementing a CTP.

Determine 6: Coverage capacities for delivering advantages.

Figure 6: Policy capacities for delivering benefits.

Notes: The dotted line signifies the common variety of direct beneficiaries divided by the inhabitants. This graph presents the protection of every nation by adding-up every of its packages. Colours point out whether or not every program used prior info to pick out beneficiaries. This prior info may come from social registries, CTP registries or different administrative sources of knowledge (reminiscent of labor or academic registries). Some packages solely used this earlier info, whereas others needed to collect new details about banking info. Nations in daring are those who had expertise implementing a CTP.

Supply: Authors’ elaboration, with knowledge from Cejudo et al. (2021).

38To sum up, regardless of vital variations of their responses, governments relied on present capacities. Regardless that all nations launched at the very least one new program, most used info from present sources to establish beneficiaries and ship the transfers. The extent to which info was used trusted the knowledge necessities of those responses: vertical expansions didn’t require new info, whereas horizontal expansions and new packages did. However, essentially the most bold responses came about in nations with expertise. Certainly, even when nations with out expertise of implementing CTPs managed to launch new packages, these reached lower than 10% of their inhabitants.

  • 5 Not all configurations had packages related to them. First, there have been instances of recent packages i (…)

39On this part, we research how governments used or developed coverage capacities for several types of response. Primarily based on the information analyzed above, we kind packages in response to their kind of innovation and their authorities’s coverage capacities. The mixture of varieties of innovation and capacities renders six doable configurations. Desk 2 reveals one program for every configuration5, which we are going to analyze in additional element. We use Quédate en Casa within the Dominican Republic to elucidate the pathway that led to the launch of a brand new program when each info and expertise have been obtainable. We use the Belizean and Brazilian packages, Increase and Bolsa Família, respectively, to indicate the completely different challenges that these governments confronted in increasing their packages whereas having the knowledge and expertise to take action. We use Programa de Aporte al Adulto Mayor and Bono Familia, from Guatemala, as examples of a program whose protection was elevated and one created from scratch, respectively, with out having helpful info in its social registries. Lastly, we use the Covid-19 Reduction Fund, in Guyana, to exemplify the pathway by which CTPs have been launched when their implementing governments didn’t have an ongoing CTP in place, and neither had ready-to-use info for the duty.

Desk 2. Applications analyzed in response to kind of innovation and coverage capacities.

Each previous expertise and preparedness

Solely previous expertise

Solely preparedness

Neither previous expertise nor preparedness

Horizontal growth

Bolsa Familia in Brazil

Programa de Aporte al Adulto Mayor in Guatemala

Not doable

Vertical growth

Increase in Belize

Not doable

New program

Quédate en Casa within the Dominican Republic

Bono Familia in Guatemala

Not noticed

Covid-19 Reduction Fund in Guyana

Supply: Authors’ elaboration.

40These six packages are helpful examples of how various configurations of knowledge availability and expertise of implementing CTPs depict numerous pathways that governments needed to undergo to increase present CTPs or create new ones. These packages exemplify how coverage capacities, or the dearth thereof, fully modify the method of launching and working a program. As shall be proven within the following sections, when coverage capacities are in place, deploying any kind of response entails a seamless decision-making course of, whereas when coverage capacities are (completely or partially) absent, many obstacles need to be handled earlier than being it’s doable to deploy a coverage response. In what follows, we inform the tales of those six packages as a method of capturing these variations in coverage capacities, and grouping them in response to the several types of innovation that every program entails.

41For horizontal expansions, governments wanted coverage capacities at numerous levels of the implementation course of — in the course of the identification of potential beneficiaries, in the course of the beneficiaries’ consumption evaluation and enrollment, and, lastly, throughout supply of the money switch. Governments wanted to be ready — by having details about potential beneficiaries — to establish new people to enroll within the ongoing CTP. In addition they wanted expertise for assessing the eligibility of potential beneficiaries in order to enroll them. On the identical time, they needed to be ready with info and needed to have expertise of delivering CTPs to have the ability to present the money profit to the brand new beneficiaries.

42For many horizontal expansions, governments deployed such abilities: 77% of the packages that have been horizontally expanded used earlier info for identification of recent beneficiaries, and 66% used info for delivering the money profit. Furthermore, all horizontal expansions came about in nations with expertise of implementing at the very least one CTP. For instance, in addition to creating the biggest program within the area — Auxílio Emergencial — Brazil elevated the protection of Bolsa Família, a program designed to cut back poverty by selling college and health-service attendance, which had been operating for 17 years. This horizontal growth was doable as a result of its social registry, Cadastro Único, contained details about potential beneficiaries who have been on the ready listing to obtain the advantages of this system (6.9 million new direct beneficiaries). The provision of this info meant that Brazil was ready to deploy a fast horizontal growth of an already giant program, and that it had the abilities to evaluate and enroll new beneficiaries, on account of having greater than twenty years of expertise of doing so.

43This expertise contrasts with the horizontal growth of the Programa de Aporte Económico al Adulto Mayor — a non-contributory pension for the aged — in Guatemala, a rustic with expertise (an ongoing CTP) however missing a social registry. As a response to the pandemic, the federal government quickly elevated its finances in order that it might be horizontally expanded. Nevertheless, because it lacked ready-to-use info, it relied on its potential developed over time. This system already had a longtime method of processing purposes and funds, which required individuals to use in particular person. adults over 75 years outdated and residing in poverty needed to apply personally to the Ministry of Labor and Social Safety and, if chosen, needed to acquire their pension at a BANRURAL department. When the pandemic hit, the method of figuring out new beneficiaries remained the identical: poor, aged individuals (essentially the most susceptible to COVID-19) needed to perform these burdensome procedures in particular person.

44Regardless that growing the scale of the money profit (vertical growth) of a given program appears easy, it is because governments had ready-to-use details about beneficiaries, making it administratively simple to ship extra money to them. Some long-standing packages within the area used this mechanism. For example, Belize elevated Increase‘s month-to-month cost from US$268 to US$325, a job that didn’t require further info to enroll new beneficiaries or further abilities as a result of, for greater than 9 years, this program had been reaching roughly 3,000 households, conditioning its advantages to highschool attendance and common well being check-ups.

45All different nations that expanded their packages vertically did so in the same method. For governments to have the ability to increase a CTP vertically, they wanted expertise in delivering CTPs. In different phrases, they wanted the know-how derived from implementing ongoing packages, and in addition preparedness (banking or beneficiaries’ location info from the continuing program’s registry). There can’t be a vertical growth if a CTP doesn’t exist, and no additional info is required as a result of beneficiaries are already enrolled and receiving the money switch. Naturally, all 18 vertical expansions occurred in nations (9) with expertise of implementing CTPs.

46All nations that responded to the pandemic with a CTP created at the very least one new program. This sort of innovation was essentially the most frequent response (95 out of 122). Designing and implementing a brand new program demanded each the know-how to function and the analytical abilities to make sense of the knowledge and sources garnered. Governments wanted analytical abilities to pick out essentially the most acceptable coverage devices to achieve their objectives, a job that might be facilitated by the expertise they’d of implementing different ongoing CTPs. In the meantime, in addition they required info on potential beneficiaries, and abilities to evaluate their eligibility, to enroll them, and to switch the money profit to them. As talked about above, most new packages relied on present info to establish beneficiaries, and to ship the switch. A complete of 78 out of 95 new packages have been launched in nations that had expertise of implementing an ongoing CTP. The methods during which these capacities have been deployed was numerous. Within the following examples, we present how completely different mixtures of capacities formed the responses: CTPs in nations with expertise and preparedness, which reacted as their capacities allowed them to do; CTPs in nations with expertise, which benefited extra individuals than they’d on social-protection registries; and CTPs in nations with out this particular set of coverage capacities.

47Quédate en Casa (Keep at Residence), a brand new CTP created within the Dominican Republic to profit casual staff, is an instance of a program that took benefit of its present abilities all through the design and implementation levels, in addition to of present info —significantly regarding its Single-Beneficiary System (SIUBEN), created in 2004. This system benefited from the focusing on that this system Progresando con Solidaridad had already performed when first carried out greater than eight years earlier. Keep at Residence mechanically enrolled the beneficiaries of that program, thus making the most of expertise and knowledge that enabled the Dominican authorities to behave expeditiously. Certainly, since Progresando con Solidaridad already had 800,000 registered households, and a community of greater than 2,000 companies that accepted pay as you go financial institution playing cards, the federal government used the prevailing banking info and infrastructure to focus on and ship money advantages (Visa, 2020). To succeed in much more households, Keep at Residence additionally chosen new individuals from the SIUBEN the place their socioeconomic circumstances have been already registered. All nations with expertise of implementing a CTP and knowledge of their social or beneficiary registries had the capacities wanted to deploy new packages in the event that they determined to take action. The Dominican Republic was one in all 13 nations on this scenario, with earlier info and expertise that enabled them to profit their populations.

48In contrast to the Dominican expertise, some nations launched new packages that didn’t use info derived from present social registries though the nations did have expertise of implementing an ongoing CTP. Amongst these, Guatemala stands out for the magnitude of its response. Certainly, Guatemala didn’t have details about beneficiaries and was thus not ready to achieve new individuals simply. Nevertheless, by its new program, Bono Familia (Household Bonus), which sought to profit these individuals who might be most affected by the confinement measures, it had protection of two million particular person beneficiaries, equal to 12% of its inhabitants. Certainly, though the nation had administrative data and details about poverty among the many inhabitants, these datasets weren’t appropriate (CIEN, 2020). Thus, the federal government created a brand new dataset by combining info from energy-distribution corporations, the Guatemalan Social Safety Institute, and the Ministry of Social Growth (MIDES). This ministry merged and systematized the knowledge to establish these households with electrical energy consumption under 200 kW, which was the criterion for eligibility. The federal government then let individuals know that they have been pre-approved as beneficiaries by their vitality invoice. Then the pre-selected beneficiaries needed to register their private identification quantity and phone quantity by a webpage, a telephone name, and even an SMS, to use to this system. After MIDES assessed the eligibility of pre-approved candidates — because it had been doing for Bono Social for the earlier eight years the beneficiaries acquired a code by their cell phone, which they may then use to make purchases and money withdrawals. The power to ship the money advantages, current in your complete monetary business’s infrastructure within the nation, was essential for this response to happen (Visa, 2020). All these nations which, like Guatemala, meant to profit extra individuals than they’d details about, needed to provide you with new methods of figuring out and enrolling beneficiaries. They have been ready to take action, due to the expertise they’d in implementing comparable packages.

49Different nations made sudden responses. Certainly, seven Caribbean nations responded to the emergency with interventions that reached individuals past their present capacities, as a result of they’d no expertise of implementing an ongoing CTP. For example, Guyana launched the COVID-19 Reduction Fund program — a one-time switch to assist the socioeconomic results of the pandemic — with quite a lot of direct beneficiaries equal to 19.8% of their inhabitants. Nevertheless, in a rustic with no expertise of implementing an ongoing CTP, and with low-tech info techniques (administrative data are incomplete and a few of these are stored solely on paper) (Bailey & Ciardi, 2020), the federal government needed to depend on the territorial construction of its native authorities which visited every family to hold out bodily verification of the potential recipients’ circumstances. With no additional evaluation course of, native officers chosen these households eligible to obtain the US$120 switch which was delivered by approved officers in particular person. Governments with out expertise and preparedness needed to implement responses that have been inevitably time-consuming and demanding of human sources. The Guyanese response was just like these deployed by the opposite six nations that lacked each expertise and preparedness, and was not as expeditious as that carried out in nations with capability. Though the protection reached by Guyana was barely decrease than the regional common (23.8%), the opposite six nations didn’t profit greater than 10% of their populations.

50From this evaluation of the choices and processes concerned within the design and implementation of those packages, we are able to draw two key implications. First, whereas the varieties of response that governments have been in a position to deploy trusted every nation’s departure level, the extent to which expertise and preparedness have been mandatory for responding additionally trusted the meant kind of response that every nation wished to deploy. Second, governments would possibly make completely different use of their coverage capacities to reply to the identical coverage problem. Certainly, most giant nations within the area responded in multiple method: they deployed new packages and, on the identical time, carried out vertical or horizontal expansions. Nevertheless, the use they manufactured from their info or expertise was not the identical for each response they supplied. As argued earlier than, coverage capacities are dynamic and contextual.

51Observing particular packages from the standpoint of the coverage capacities used to deploy them makes it evident, first, that nations employed completely different configurations of coverage capacities, relying on their kind of CTP response. This discovering helps the concept that coverage capacities should not one generic asset equally related for each determination concerned within the coverage course of. They don’t seem to be a unitary asset as a result of they’re made up of sources (informational sources, on this case) and a set of organizational practices and constructions by which governments have discovered over time the best way to handle them. Belize’s vertical growth of Increase, as an illustration, reveals that assuaging the financial stress of sure households didn’t require any implementing agent to discover ways to do something that was completely different from what they’d performed for the earlier 9 years. However coverage capacities should not equally related for each determination both, as a result of — as proven within the six packages described above — the kind of info, its function, and the abilities required for its evaluation should not the identical for figuring out beneficiaries as for delivering the money switch. Bono Familia (Guatemala) showcases this distinction: for the federal government, figuring out new beneficiaries was doable due to its expertise, which allowed it to create a dataset utilizing present info from energy-distribution corporations. This info made it doable to focus on this system to sure households, in addition to to allow them to know that they have been eligible. Nevertheless, this info was not helpful for delivering the cost. Info for this second part needed to be obtained by different means: every beneficiary had to offer info immediately on a webpage created for it; the federal government would then use it to ship a code with which the beneficiary may make money withdrawals or purchases.

  • 6 Wu et al. (2015) additionally embrace political capability. This isn’t thought-about right here because it doesn’t corres (…)

52To indicate how capacities are particular not solely to the kind of growth but additionally to the duties required for various levels within the implementation, Desk 3 summarizes how expertise and preparedness could also be utilized in completely different eventualities. We distinguish the vital selections and processes for designing and implementing CTPs, after which analyze every dimension of coverage capability (preparedness and expertise) that governments would want to create new packages or to increase their present CTPs. The content material of this desk stems from an iterative analytical course of between the arguments outlined within the literature on coverage capacities6 and the empirics derived from the information introduced above.

Desk 3. Coverage capacities all through the implementation course of, by kind of response.

Instrument choice

Figuring out potential beneficiaries

Beneficiaries’ consumption evaluation and enrollment

Money switch supply


growth (growing the scale of the cost)

Having expertise and being ready is irrelevant

CTP design is already in place

Having expertise and being ready is irrelevant

There is no such thing as a have to establish new beneficiaries

Having expertise and being ready is irrelevant


already enrolled


Operational abilities derived from ongoing program




(banking or beneficiaries’ location from the continuing program’s registry)


growth (growing the protection)

Having expertise and being ready is irrelevant

CTP design is already in place


Socioeconomic details about potential beneficiaries from social/beneficiary registry


Analytical and operational abilities derived from ongoing program to incorporate new beneficiaries


Operational abilities derived from ongoing program



Info (banking or beneficiaries’ location from social/beneficiary registry)

New program (intervention designed ex profeso in response to the pandemic)


Analytical abilities derived from implementing different CTPs


Socioeconomic details about potential beneficiaries from social/beneficiary registry


Analytical and operational abilities derived from different program to incorporate new beneficiaries


Operational abilities derived from one other program




(banking or beneficiaries’ location from social/beneficiary registry)

Supply: Authors’ elaboration.

53By definition, until governments had an ongoing CTP, they’d not have the ability to reply with a vertical or a horizontal growth. To conduct a vertical growth, nonetheless, it’s irrelevant whether or not governments had expertise and have been ready to pick out coverage devices and to establish and enroll beneficiaries, as a result of this type of response is restricted to offering bigger advantages to the inhabitants that they have been already focusing on. Nevertheless, they’d should be skilled (having the operational abilities derived from implementing an ongoing program) and to be ready (possessing banking or beneficiary location info from the continuing program’s registry) to have the ability to ship a higher-size cost to beneficiaries.

54Additionally, by definition, for a horizontal growth, it might be essential to have an ongoing CTP. Though having expertise and being ready for choosing coverage devices is irrelevant, as a result of the CTPs have been already designed, this sort of response required governments to have info to establish new beneficiaries and to have had expertise of assessing and enrolling them. Certainly, governments would want to have socioeconomic details about potential beneficiaries to increase this system’s protection. Furthermore, a paperwork with the analytical and operational abilities to evaluate the eligibility of recent beneficiaries, and to enroll them within the ongoing CTP, could be essential. Delivering this horizontal growth would additionally require the businesses answerable for the implementation of the CTP to have the requisite operational abilities and banking info regarding the new beneficiaries.

55Lastly, responding to the pandemic with the creation of a brand new CTP would require additional coverage capacities, because it couldn’t be performed until governments had the analytical abilities to design this system, in addition to the expertise and knowledge wanted to implement it. When coping with complicated issues, designing a brand new coverage calls for a meticulous articulation of the said coverage objectives, the chosen coverage instruments, and the present governance modes (Tosun & Lang, 2017). Whereas having these abilities is essential for growing new packages, having expertise of implementing comparable responses makes this type of innovation much less depending on the person’s and the organizations’ analytical capacities.

56Unbundling the completely different configurations of coverage capacities wanted for finishing up each job concerned in responding with a CTP (Desk 3) makes it evident that capacities are particular. This has been defined within the coverage devices literature when empirically demonstrating that the behavioral assumptions that information the number of a selected set of coverage devices “are contingent not solely on the coverage instrument at hand but additionally the particular coverage and native context” (Wegrich, 2021, p. 12). Nevertheless, as our evaluation reveals, coverage capacities should not solely context-specific but additionally task-specific. This function is what distinguishes them from broader notions of state capacities that use generic indicators (such because the World Financial institution Governance Indicators, Gross Home Product Per Capita, or taxation) to measure a authorities’s capability to implement insurance policies. State capacities fluctuate from sector to sector (Knill, 2005) and thus their empirical evaluation requires sector-specific indicators. For example, for measuring well being responses, Toshkov et al. (2021) use the variety of nurses per capita or well being expenditure per capita. But variations within the responses to the pandemic have been attributed to state capability when it’s affordable to anticipate that, inside the identical authorities, the power of a well being company to vaccinate its inhabitants will differ from the power of different businesses to implement any social program or to handle distant schooling. Furthermore, latest analysis on governmental responses to COVID-19 has proven that the capacities required differed from job to job. For instance, contact tracing (Cingolani, 2022) required informational capacities completely different from these required for vaccination methods (Peeters et al., 2023).

57Our evaluation of CTP responses to the pandemic additionally helps the concept that coverage capacities are greater than only a set of generic belongings or static abilities. Because the in-depth evaluation of the instances reveals, having ready-to-use info made the duty of responding simpler and swifter; nonetheless, the dearth of this didn’t impede another governments of their responses (a number of Caribbean nations are examples of this). The truth that such governments may compensate for his or her lack of expertise by growing new mechanisms to acquire socioeconomic info by very numerous means, demonstrates that they might be agile and resilient. Capacities should be understood and developed as a part of a dynamic context the place stability and predictability are, in reality, distinctive (Mazzucato & Kattel, 2020).

58Having governments that made CTP responses regardless of missing info would possibly give the improper concept that coverage capacities don’t clarify CTP responses besides, maybe, when it comes to their pace. But a more in-depth have a look at the information introduced above reveals that nations that lacked social-protection info techniques for focusing on and deploying a response did so with a really restricted scope. The protection of these responses was influenced by the expertise of their decision-makers and paperwork in acquiring details about potential beneficiaries or new mechanisms for delivering the funds. Furthermore, these few nations that created packages from scratch not solely reached a small share of their populations however positioned heavy burdens of effort and time on their beneficiaries and public officers. Certainly, whereas creating mechanisms to retrieve info could also be doable within the context of an emergency, the information wanted for designing and making a program that reaches a selected sector of the inhabitants may solely outcome from having expertise of doing so. Which means that, whereas expertise might compensate for an absence of preparedness, the misplaced time in growing new abilities can’t be made up.

59The completely different configurations of coverage capacities for conducting particular duties within the supply of CTPs depict a extra complicated understanding of this idea, one which works past having sources and even having the abilities to make strategic use of sources.

60On this paper, we’ve got prolonged the dialogue of coverage capacities in the course of the pandemic, constructing on Capano et al.’s (2020) conceptualization of capacities as a mixture of preparedness and expertise, by completely different configurations of coverage capacities in the course of the design and implementation of CTPs in LAC. Extending present work on the deployment of coverage capacities in the course of the pandemic, and constructing on latest analysis on coverage capacities which emphasizes that these should not generic abilities or sources however, as a substitute, are context-dependent, we present that there are a number of doable mixtures of each dimensions of coverage capacities, and that the methods during which they’ve enabled coverage responses fluctuate tremendously.

61By observing preparedness and expertise in each kind of coverage response, we’ve got proven that each dimensions of coverage capability must be operationalized in relation to the duty that they’re purported to be enabling. Primarily based on our operationalizations, we’ve got supplied an evaluation of how coverage capacities enabled coverage responses to a selected problem within the type of CTPs for an emergent, temporal response. We’ve defined how completely different mixtures of coverage capacities enabled governments to achieve their populations (outdated and new beneficiaries) and to offer help in response to this emergency by making use of their expertise in implementing a CTP and of the knowledge gathered over time.

62Our findings can’t be mechanically generalized to different coverage sectors. We’ve proven the significance of producing sector-specific operationalizations of coverage capacities. A promising avenue of analysis in comparative public administration is to check how expertise is constructed over time in numerous sectors, and to indicate what preparedness means in particular coverage areas. There may be additionally a have to discover how capacities could be quickly developed when time is at stake. This agenda may gain advantage from participating with the policy-feedback literature (Béland & Schlager, 2019), coverage studying and innovation capacities (Borrás, 2011), and social coverage growth (Arza et al., 2022) to realize a greater understanding of how earlier selections on increasing social packages to new populations facilitated the response in the course of the pandemic and will do the identical for future expansions. This analysis would affirm the significance of producing (and preserving) bureaucratic capacities and the important thing significance of knowledge techniques in coping with future challenges.


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