Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Committee Member

John Tuman

Second Committee Member

Michele Kuenzi

Third Committee Member

Kenneth Fernandez

Fourth Committee Member

Barbara Brents

Number of Pages



Past research on social policy in Latin America has primarily focused on how each countries' policies were formed, the institutional framework that bred the policies, or the economic constraints that necessitated certain reforms. Little work has been done to examine the effects those policies have had on the populace. This thesis attempts to determine if there is a relationship between social spending and satisfaction with democracy. The research takes two forms. First I present case studies of Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela. The second is an ordered logit hierarchical linear model utilizing survey responses from the 2005 Latinobarometer survey. In total 18 countries are analyzed. Both the case studies and the hierarchical linear model indicate that a country's overall social spending has very little effect on a citizen's satisfaction with democracy. However, citizens' satisfaction with their access to healthcare and education are major determinants of satisfaction with democracy in Latin America. This would suggest that social policy does matter to Latin Americans, but that more important than social spending is how those policies are directly impacting the lives of the citizens.


Democracy; Education; Expenditures; Public; Government spending policy; Healthcare; Hierarchical Model; Latin America; Medical care; Quality of life; Satisfaction with Democracy; Social Policy; Social Spending


Latin American Studies | Political Science | Social Policy | Social Welfare

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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