Care Economies in Context

July Newsletter: Focus on Costa Rica

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July Newsletter
Care Economies in Context is a major, multinational research project that seeks to measure the care economies and understand the workings of the care infrastructure in nine countries in four different global regions. The project team consists of academics, members of the policy community and NGO’s interested in promoting just care systems around the world. We study both paid and unpaid care, focusing specifically on childcare and care for the elderly. This monthly newsletter provides research updates and announcements of interest to project members and others interested in the care economy. Each issue focuses on a specific country.

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In this newsletter, you’ll find:  

Country Profile: Care Economy in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, like other countries in Latin America, care is traditionally family-oriented, with a recent incorporation of public care policies aimed at specific populations.

Three policy developments are worth noting. In 2014, the government created a National Childcare and Development Network (REDCUDI) that seeks to systematize and expand child care services across the country. In the case of the older adult population, in 2021 the National Care Policy 2021-2031 was approved through executive decree and aims to support people whose lives are characterized by dependency in gaining and strengthening their autonomy.

Third, the National System of Care and Support for Adults and Older Persons in a Situation of Dependency (SINCA) was created in 2022. It aims to establish a progressive system that provides services for care-dependent people and care-providers, optimizing public and private services already existing in the country. Read more

Costa Rica Care Economies in Context Team Biography

The Care Economies in Context Costa Rica team is led by Professor Laura Rivera Alfaro and Professor Juliana Martínez Franzoni.

Laura Rivera Alfaro holds a Master’s in Social Work from the Federal University of Pará with emphasis on social work, work, and social policies (Former Scholar of the Organization of American States, OAS). She has degrees in Social Work and Law from the University of Costa Rica, and she is a specialist in sustainability policies with a gender focus. Read Laura’s complete bio here
Juliana Martínez Franzoni is Humboldt Chair and full professor at the University of Costa Rica. She conducts comparative research on social policy, including childcare, in Latin America. She has been a Fulbright scholar and a visiting fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies (US), DesiguALdades-net (Germany), CIEPP (Argentina), and the University of Austin (US). Her most recent articles were published in Social Politics (2017) Latin American Research Review (2014) and ECLAC Review (2014). Read Juliana’s complete bio here
Care Economy in Context: An interview with the Costa Rica Team
The Care Economies in Context project team in Costa Rica answers questions addressing the work they have done, the major issues they see facing Costa Rica’s care economy, and the kinds of changes they would like to see. They also discuss the barriers that exist and the hopes they have for economic modelling. The team is led by Professor Laura Riviera Alfaro and Professor Juliana Martínez Franzoni.
To read the interview, click here

Research Activities

The Carework Network organized a bilingual (Spanish and English) three-day conference hosted at the University of Costa Rica 1 year ago in June, 2024. The Summit was attended by carework researchers, scholars, and stakeholders from across the globe, with more than 250 people in attendance. Some keynote speeches from the Summit can be viewed on YouTube, and are linked alongside images from the conference on the website linked below.
To view, click here

Developments within Costa Rica’s Care Sector

Public Child Care Provision: Unraveling the Consequences of Implementation Variations for Women’s Time Allocation

From analysis of the effects of a national childcare policy on women’s time allocation in Costa Rica, it is found that childcare services are associated with increased female labor force participation, greater educational enrollment, and reduced unpaid care work. However, a comparison of two implementing agencies indicates that the overall effects vary by agency. Read more.
What Does Community-Oriented Primary Health Care Look Like? Lessons from Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers an example of an efficient health care system centered around a backbone of robust, community-oriented primary health care, characterized by strong and effective use of community health workers to improve access, quality, and equity. Although circumstances in Costa Rica and the U.S. differ in many ways, the story of this Latin American nation’s success demonstrates what can be achieved with other models of care. Read more.
Towards a more equitable, gender-focused and community-led primary health care in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is an upper middle-income country with notable progress in human development largely attributable to its successful establishment of universal health care, education and social protection programmes. Nevertheless, the country faces a series of challenges, including elevated degrees of inequality, intensified and escalated by the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.
Costa Rica: From local to national: Intersectoral network to create environments for healthy ageing

In Costa Rica, more than 16% of the population is over 60 years of age and the country is experiencing a rapid demographic transition. The country is therefore seeking opportunities to develop public policies regarding healthy ageing, including the creation of environments that support older adults’ capacities. Read more.
News and Announcements
Earlier Newsletters
The previous newsletters focused on Care Economies in Context in Canada, Mongolia, Colombia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Senegal. To view these newsletters, follow these links:
Focus on Canada
Focus on Mongolia
Focus on Colombia
Focus on South Korea
Focus on Sri Lanka
Focus on Senegal
The Centre for Global Social Policy is a research, teaching, and training centre within the University of Toronto’s Department of Sociology.

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