Room: 3.3380
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
noon - 2.00 pm
Sonderforschungsbereich 1342 "Globale Entwicklungsdynamiken von Sozialpolitik", Universität Bremen
Contact Person
Lecture Series
Jour Fixe
SoSe 2024

Countries in the Global South experienced a massive increase in immigration in the past decade, with more migrants ending up there than in the Global North. Within South America, over seven million Venezuelans have left their country since 2015, leading to an extraordinary scale of intraregional migration. During these same years, and due to the expansion of social programs, millions of citizens in the region accessed basic income and better-quality healthcare, many for the first time. This talk studies these dual trends and analyzes whether social policies effectively incorporate immigrants. Failing to provide newcomers with a basic standard of living produces social exclusion. It shows that immigrants have more impediments to accessing the welfare state than citizens, even for universal public health, but especially for targeted social assistance. This derives from a combination of political elites’ views around the degree to which immigrants “deserve” access to different types of policies. The research focuses on the barriers that immigrants face to accessing social policy in middle-income South American countries with high rates of immigration—Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Colombia. Barriers to access are measured through qualitative coding of social assistance, social pensions, and public healthcare that build on legal documents, information requests, and secondary literature from 1990 to 2023, and public officials’ views are measured through in-depth interviews. In analyzing barriers to accessing social policy, this study contributes to the literatures on comparative welfare states and immigration, as well as comparative social policy in middle income countries. 

Sara Niedzwiecki is Associate Professor of Politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She studies social policy, subnational politics, and immigration in Latin America. Sara is the author of Uneven Social Policies: The Politics of Subnational Variation in Latin America (2018, Cambridge University Press), which was awarded LASA's Donna Lee Van Cott Book Award from The Political Institutions Section and the International Public Policy Association's IPPA Book Award. She also co-authored Measuring Regional Authority: A Postfunctionalist Theory of Governance (Oxford University Press, 2016). Sara has authored and co-authored articles in Comparative Political Studies, Electoral Studies, Latin American Politics and Society, Studies in Comparative International Development, Regional and Federal Studies, PS: Political Science and Politics, International Political Science Review, among other peer-reviewed journals. During 2020-2021 academic year, Sara was a fellow at the University of Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies where she worked on a new project on social policy and immigration in South America. Website:

If you cannot attend in person, it is possible to follow the lecture via Zoom: 636 2178 9671 Passcode: 452328