Date of Award/Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in International Studies


International Studies


Costa Rica has evolved to become one of the most grounded democracies within the Latin American and Caribbean region. Situated in Central America, Costa Rica' s democratic tradition clearly stands apart from its neighboring countries, as this region has experienced conflict and political instability. In addition, Costa Rica has continuously pursued economic growth and invested in furthering social development. This paper will describe the development of social policies, specifically education and healthcare, in Costa Rica. The foundation of the argument maintains that social policy advancement can flourish in a society under a balanced and stable governing framework coupled with strong commitment to such development. A historical perspective depicts the emergence and building of well developed social policy infrastructures. In the case of Costa Rica, the share of expenditures consistently allocated for social policy development and the policies and reform measures implemented by the government is indicative of the commitment. The established values of this democracy along with the commitment to development is what enabled Costa Rica to persevere and sustain the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s. An overall examination of the education and healthcare measures and policies adopted in Costa Rica is illustrated by rather impressive achievements, which is remarkable for a country in the developing world.

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