Chile: Tackling social changes

When Chile became the first South American country to join the OECD in 2010, the event was greeted as a seal on years of progress, not to mention hard work. Still, challenges remain, including in the fight against poverty, as Minister of Planning Felipe Kast explains in this interview with the OECD Observer.

OECD Observer: Chile has recently experienced a slight uptick in poverty, perhaps as a result of the economic crisis. How do you plan to deal with this?

Minister Felipe Kast: We started reducing poverty very strongly since 1990, and poverty rates dropped from almost 40% to 13% in 2006. Then from 2006 to 2009, they went up slightly to 15%, which is very bad news obviously. It was partly because of the crisis, of course, but also because our policies were not very well monitored. That’s something we should change in the future. We have increased our social spending a lot, but without the results we really expected, so most of our reduction in poverty was due to growth and employment. We need to make sure that our social spending is also having the impact we expected from the beginning.

Chile has decided to transform the Ministry of Planning into a Ministry of Social Development. Could you tell us some of the reasons behind this change?

Actually, it’s related to the previous point. We wanted to change the way we design our policies. Now we have each ministry dealing with its own problem, and no one is looking at the big picture, and no one is really monitoring the impact of each of these social problems. Therefore, if we really want to give a medicine that has an impact on the patient, we need to have a Ministry of Social Development dealing with the whole picture and making sure that poverty reduction is a fact, no matter what is going on outside of the country.

You are currently visiting the OECD. How do you feel we could help you with these challenges?

Well, Chile is very proud to be part of the OECD, we’re very happy about it. I’m here to get some feedback about what we’re doing, and we are trying to get some help with indicators. We’re trying to develop new ways of measuring social mobility, we’re trying to measure cohesion, we’re trying to measure different things that we need to monitor in order to make sure that growth translates into a better quality of life. I’m having very good meetings and am thankful to be here.

Visit Chile’s Ministry of Planning, Mideplan,

The interview was conducted by Ricardo Tejada. It can be viewed at or

©OECD Observer No 281, October 2010

Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q3 2017 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.3% Dec 2017 annual
Trade: +4.3% exp, +4.3% imp, Q3 2017
Unemployment: 5.5% Dec 2017
Last update: 12 Feb 2018


Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly

Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Ambassador Aleksander Surdej, Permanent Representative of Poland to the OECD, was a guest on France 24’s English-language show “The Debate”, where he discussed French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
  • The fight against tax evasion is gaining further momentum as Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Malaysia, Panama and Tunisia signed the BEPS Multilateral Convention on 24 January, bringing the total number of signatories to 78. The Convention strengthens existing tax treaties and reduces opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.
  • Rousseau
  • Do you trust your government? The OECD’s How's life 2017 report finds that only 38% of people in OECD countries trust their government. How can we improve our old "Social contract?" Read more.
  • Papers show “past coming back to haunt us”: OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria tells Sky News that the so-called "Paradise Papers" show a past coming back to haunt us, but one which is now being dismantled. Please watch the video.
  • When someone asks me to describe an ideal girl, in my head, she is a person who is physically and mentally independent, brave to speak her mind, treated with respect just like she treats others, and inspiring to herself and others. But I know that the reality is still so much different. By Alda, 18, on International Day of the Girl. Read more.
  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Read some of the insightful remarks made at OECD Forum 2017, held on 6-7 June. OECD Forum kick-started events with a focus on inclusive growth, digitalisation, and trust, under the overall theme of Bridging Divides.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at .
  • Visit the OECD Gender Data Portal. Selected indicators shedding light on gender inequalities in education, employment and entrepreneurship.

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2018