IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The global politics of social protection


  • Sam Hickey
  • Jeremy Seekings


Since the early 2000s international development agencies have actively promoted social protection as a new global public policy. This process can be understood as flowing from related shifts within the global political economy and of development ideology, and involved international development agencies deploying strategies of governmentality to ‘render technical’ social protection, and cash transfers in particular, as the logical solution to myriad development problems, including within Africa. The paper places this move in historical perspective and examines the role that a particular aid agency played in shaping the transfer of cash transfers to Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Sam Hickey & Jeremy Seekings, 2017. "The global politics of social protection," WIDER Working Paper Series 115, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2017-115

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kakwani, Nanak & Subbarao, Kalanidhi, 2005. "Aging and poverty in Africa and the role of social pensions," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 32752, The World Bank.
    2. Rita Abrahamsen & Paul Williams, 2001. "Ethics and Foreign Policy: the Antinomies of New Labour's 'Third Way' in Sub-Saharan Africa," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 49(2), pages 249-264, June.
    3. Tom Lavers, 2016. "Social protection in an aspiring 'developmental state': The political drivers of Ethiopia's PSNP," WIDER Working Paper Series 130, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Marcus André Melo & Armando Barrientos & André Canuto Coelho, 2014. "Taxation, redistribution and the social contract in Brazil," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series iriba_wp11, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    5. Kalanidhi Subbarao, 2005. "Aging and Poverty in Africa and the Role of Social Pensions," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11785, The World Bank.
    6. Marito Garcia & Charity M. T. Moore, 2012. "The Cash Dividend : The Rise of Cash Transfer Programs in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2246, June.
    7. Kanbur Ravi, 2001. "Economic Policy, Distribution and Poverty: The Nature of Disagreements," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-26, April.
    8. Maria Granvik, 2016. "Policy diffusion, domestic politics and social assistance in Lesotho, 1998–2012," WIDER Working Paper Series 146, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. Verena Fritz & Brian Levy & Rachel Ort, 2014. "Problem-Driven Political Economy Analysis : The World Bank's Experience," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 16389, June.
    10. Marianne S. Ulriksen, 2016. "Ideational and institutional drivers of social protection in Tanzania," WIDER Working Paper Series 142, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    11. Indermit S. Gill & Truman G. Packard & Juan Yermo & Todd Pugatch, 2004. "Keeping the Promise of Old Age Income Security in Latin America," World Bank Other Operational Studies 10349, The World Bank.
    12. Sam Hickey & Badru Bukenya, 2016. "The politics of promoting social cash transfers in Uganda," WIDER Working Paper Series 118, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. Fredrick O. Wanyama & Anna McCord, 2017. "The politics of scaling up social protection in Kenya," WIDER Working Paper Series 114, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    14. Teichman, Judith, 2008. "Redistributive Conflict and Social Policy in Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 446-460, March.
    15. Yanguas, Pablo & Hulme, David, 2015. "Barriers to Political Analysis in Aid Bureaucracies: From Principle to Practice in DFID and the World Bank," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 209-219.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Sam Hickey & Tom Lavers & Miguel Niño-Zarazúa & Jeremy Seekings, 2018. "The negotiated politics of social protection in sub-Saharan Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 034, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2017-115. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mauricio Roa Grisales). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.