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Transformative Social Policy and Innovation in Developing Countries


  • Thandika Mkandawire


Social policy is today receiving greater attention in the field of development studies. Much emphasis is placed on the important issues of reproduction, redistribution and social protection. However, in the context of development, one must add to these concerns the vital issue of production. This article argues that social policy can be innovation-enhancing, through its effects on human capital and skill formation; its capacity to alleviate risk and uncertainty by underpinning the social pacts necessary for managing the contractual nature of labour markets; its incorporation of labour into the saving-investment regime and inducement of long-term perspectives in the financial sector; and its contribution to political stability. These roles underscore the transformative role of social policy that is often overlooked. The recognition of these roles is quite recent in the case of developed countries and much more research is required, with special attention to the problems of catching up. Les politiques sociales sont l'objet d'une attention renouvelée dans le domaine du développement. On y donne une importance grandissante aux questions de reproduction, de redistribution et de protection sociale. Cependant on doit y ajouter les questions de production. L'article part de l'hypothèse que les politiques sociales peuvent être source d'innovation, grâce à leurs effets sur le capital humain et la formation; leurs capacités à réduire le risque et l'incertitude en mettant l'accent sur les accords sociaux qui doivent réguler les marchés du travail; les liens entre travail et épargne et leurs conséquences sur le secteur financier et leur contribution à la stabilité politique. La reconnaissance de ces effets des politiques sociales est très récent dans le cas des pays développés et nous avons besoin de plus de recherche sur ces questions.

Suggested Citation

  • Thandika Mkandawire, 2007. "Transformative Social Policy and Innovation in Developing Countries," The European Journal of Development Research, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 13-29.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eurjdr:v:19:y:2007:i:1:p:13-29
    DOI: 10.1080/09578810601144236

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    Cited by:

    1. DiCaprio, Alisa, 2013. "The Demand Side of Social Protection: Lessons from Cambodia’s Labor Rights Experience," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 108-119.
    2. Judit Ricz, 2016. "Developmental states in the 21st century - analytical structure of a new approach," IWE Working Papers 223, Institute for World Economics - Centre for Economic and Regional Studies- Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
    3. Judit Ricz, 2015. "Towards a new model of state-led development in Brazil (?)," IWE Working Papers 215, Institute for World Economics - Centre for Economic and Regional Studies- Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
    4. Judit Ricz, 2017. "New developmentalist experiments in Brazil and Egypt - a comparative study," IWE Working Papers 227, Institute for World Economics - Centre for Economic and Regional Studies- Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

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