We are delighted to share the series of Pathways’ Perspectives – providing an opportunity to debate key issues on social policy in international development.

The Social Protection Flaw – or how not to win fiscal space for entitlements

A step towards a society for everybody? Zambia is an example of a country that has invested in a donor-funded scheme -
once experiments included more a small number of those deemed to be 'the poor'

The many disadvantages to poverty-targeted social protection include the fact that they never become entitlements that attract popular demand and the financial backing of governments, writes Nicholas Freeland, independent consultant, in our latest publication.

The paper is published in the week that the UK Government emphasises the need for donors to support programmes that developing nations gradually start to deliver themselves, and points to evidence that inclusive schemes ...

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Are you designing social protection schemes from a charity or a citizenship paradigm?

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Social protection is not always beneficial and popular. A way of predicting whether a programme will have positive impacts and be supported by voters is to identify whether it falls into a ‘charity paradigm’ or a ‘citizenship paradigm,’ argues Senior Social Protection Specialist Stephen Kidd in a new paper.

Those designing social protection schemes who work within a citizenship paradigm build ...

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Anti-Social Registries: how a database excludes many from social protection


A craze sweeping the social protection world for Social Registries is systematically depriving some of the world’s poorest not only of social protection but also of access to vital services. So argues our latest publication, ‘Anti-Social Registries: How have they become so popular?, published today.

Stephen Kidd, Development Pathways’ Senior Social Policy Specialist, says that selecting the beneficiaries of programmes from one database by ranking the poorest to ...

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Single Registries and Social Registries: Clarifying the Terminological Confusion


Development Pathways is pleased to share our latest Pathways’ Perspective: ‘Single Registries and Social Registries: Clarifying the Terminological Confusion‘ by Richard Chirchir and Shez Farooq.

Richard Chirchir and Shez Farooq latest Pathways’ Perspective seeks to clarify two key terms – Single Registry and Social Registry. Single Registries and Social Registries are potential elements of an integrated system for information management within social protection sector.

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Zambia’s Katete Universal Pension

zambian women

Development Pathways is pleased to share our latest Pathways’ Perspective: “If you only have dust in your hands then friends are far; when they are full they come closer”: examination of the impacts of Zambia’s Katete universal pension, by Sarina Kidd. Sarina discusses the impacts of a pilot pension scheme in Katete (Zambia), showing how it has transformed the lives of older people and their kin.


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India: The Basic Income Experiment


“The extra income created opportunities for people to start improving their lives.”

Development Pathways is pleased to share our latest Pathways’ Perspective, India’s Basic Income Experiment, by Rasmus Schjoedt.

In this Pathways’ Perspectives, Rasmus looks at the effects of a basic income pilot project conducted in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. ...

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To condition or not to condition: what is the evidence?

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‘The World Bank do not like having conditions imposed on them: so why impose them on others?’

This is our first Pathways’ Perspectives of the year! It looks at the results from a range of experiments that compare conditional and unconditional cash transfers. Overall, there is no robust evidence to suggest that the use of conditions have any positive impact on recipients. So, Stephen asks why ...

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The Political Economy of “Targeting” of Social Security Schemes

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Don’t target ‘the poor’ if you really want to help ‘the poor’

 We’ve a new Perspectives out, in which Stephen Kidd examines the evidence on the political economy of ‘targeting’. By first examining the history behind social security in developed countries, and then looking at contemporary tax-financed social security schemes in both developed and developing countries, Stephen demonstrates how the targeting design of ...

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Launch of Lesotho’s National Social Protection Strategy: Pathways’ Perspective #18


Development Pathways is pleased to share its latest Pathways’ Perspective, Launch of Lesotho’s National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS), authored by Nicholas Freeland and Bazlul Khondker. In this Perspective, our contributors explore the practical achievements of the strategy development process, and how such successes contributed to the Government of Lesotho’s enlightened commitment to social protection.

Click here to view the published Strategy in full. ...

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Economic Impacts of a Universal Pension in Bangladesh: Pathways’ Perspective #17


Dr. Bazlul Khondker is an economist, specialising in econometric modelling and social security. In this perspective, he looks at the economic impacts of a universal pension in Bangladesh. Through his modelling, he demonstrates that investing in a universal pension has similar economic impacts to those of investing in infrastructure and capital goods. Further, the distribution of economic benefits of a universal pension appear to be pro-poor and ...

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Why ‘The Poor’ Don’t Exist (And What This Means For Social Protection Policy): Pathways’ Perspective #16

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In our 16th Perspective, Charles Knox-Vydmanov, of HelpAge International, argues that by conceptualising those living in poverty as a static group known as ‘the poor’, the reality of poverty and vulnerability in countries is distorted. He goes so far as to argue that ‘the poor’ is, in fact, an imaginary construct created by the limitations of the tools available for poverty analysis. Once this is recognised, it becomes ...

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The Ages of Man: Shakespeare and social protection through the life-course: Pathways’ Perspective #15

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In our 15th Perspective, Nicholas Freeland uses Shakespeare’s depiction of the seven ages of man to explore the vulnerabilities at each stage of the life-course. He proposes that an inclusive approach to social protection – in which schemes are oriented to addressing risks across the life-cycle – is more suited to addressing such nuances, rather than the neoliberal Conditionista ideology focusing on ‘poor relief’.


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The Misuse of the Term ‘Graduation’ in Social Policy: Pathways’ Perspectives #14


In our 14th Perspective, Stephen Kidd, Senior Social Policy Advisor, discusses why the term ‘graduation’ should be eliminated from international development discourse.

The term ‘graduation’ conflates the two concepts of a) supporting people to engage more effectively in the labour market and b) exiting from social security schemes. However, these two concepts should remain separate as it encourages a belief that families on poor relief ...

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Adolescent Girls and Education: Challenges, Evidence and Gaps: Pathways’ Perspectives #13


In our 13th Perspective, Rebecca Calder and Karishma Huda of Development Pathways discuss the importance of education for adolescent girls. There has been considerable recent interest in better understanding adolescent girls’ lives. Education is seen as one of their main pathways out of poverty, but it is often the very thing denied to them. The authors present the six main constraints to adolescent girls’ educational attainment. They also explore ...

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Mis-labelled Cash Transfers (MCTs): Pathways’ Perspective #12


In our 12th Perspective, Nicholas Freeland, a Senior Social Policy Specialist, criticises a report written about a two year pilot social protection scheme in Morocco. The scheme was designed to see whether imposing conditions increased the educational impact of a cash transfer for children. While the research found that a conditional cash transfer had no greater impact than an unconditional one, for some strange reason the unconditional ...

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Rethinking “Targeting” in International Development: Pathways’ Perspective #11

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Senior Social Policy Specialist at Development Pathways, Stephen Kidd, examines the hot topic of ‘targeting’ and its role in the field of social security.

#11 of our inhouse publication discusses whether ‘targeting’ is an appropriate term to use in discussions on social policy. With fervent advocates on different sides of the debate, Stephen argues that the debates on targeting are essentially ideological, and we need to ...

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The Seven Deadly Myths of Social Protection: Pathways’ Perspective #10

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Senior Social Policy Specialist Nicholas Freeland writes about the myths of social protection.

Perpective #10 aims to dispel some of the more common myths about social security systems in developing countries. By clarifying two distinct ideologies, the neo-liberal ‘tea party’ approach and the universalist approach the paper takes each deadly sin and myth in turn.


While Development ...

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Bolsa unFAMILIAr: Pathways’ Perspective #9

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Senior Social Policy Specialists Stephen Kidd and Karishma Huda write about the misconceptions of Brazil’s conditional cash transfer, Bolsa Familia, in the latest Pathways’ Perspective.

Perpective #9 assesses the evidence on Brazil’s social security system, examining the beneficiary numbers, budgets, levels of benefits and, importantly, impacts and coverage of the main social security schemes in Brazil. It reveals that the real hero driving down poverty and ...

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Re-silly-ence – or the Reinvention of Vulnerability: Pathways’ Perspective #8

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Nicholas Freeland takes issue with the new craze for “resilience”. and asks what we are really gaining from looking at the other side of the vulnerability coin.


While Development Pathways may not necessarily agree with the views of the authors, we believe it is important to give people space to express their opinions.

About the Author

Nicholas Freeland is ...

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Grandmas, Pensions and FGM/C: Pathways’ Perspective #7

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Rebecca Calder reports on the surprising finding that pensions may be contributing to a reduction in female genital cutting in Karamoja, Uganda.

Perspective #7 suggests that we need to understand much more about how social and economic interventions can work together to tackle harmful traditional practices.


While Development Pathways may not necessarily agree with the views of ...

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