blog iconMeans-testing the UK’s Winter Fuel Allowance: how does this contribute to our understanding of the political economy of social security?

The UK’s Labour Party has recently responded to the Conservative – or in theory, Coalition – government’s attacks on the social security system by trying to prove they can be even tougher. To prove it, they’ve decided to go after one of the UK’s few remaining inclusive benefits and subject...

blog iconPro-Poor Policies and the Rise of an Alienated Middle-Class in Developing Countries

From Turkey to Brazil, the middle-class are out on the streets protesting. In a thought-provoking article, Francis Fukuyama argues that the cause of these protests is a growing middle class with aspirations that are not being realised. As he notes: “Newly arrived members of the middle-class are more likely to be...

blog iconBangladesh: Social Unrest, Elections and a Failed Social Model

Bangladesh has just experienced troubled elections boycotted by the main opposition party, amid strikes and violence. It is not a happy country. Yet, in many respects, since independence the country has made good progress. While many commentators in the 1980s wrote off the country as a basket case, its economy...

blog iconUniversal child benefits: The curious case of Mongolia

Up to now, Mongolia has been famous for Genghis Khan, nomadic herders and grand wrestling competitions in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. But, it can now add to its list of fame the developing world’s only universal child grant! Worldwide, close to one in seven countries provide non-contributory child benefits...

blog iconMPs in Uganda make case for universal social protection programme

When discussing the governance of social protection in developing countries, we usually focus on the Executive Branch institutions and their role in policy development – as well as the design, implementation and monitoring of schemes – but pay little attention to the role of Parliaments. Nonetheless, as part of their...

blog iconLessons to Be Learned: International Interventions in Timor-Leste

The time has come to learn from international interventions in Timor-Leste: Political economy and conflict analyses must be applied in support of countries in transition.  Sitting at a long table in a quiet pedestrian street soaking in the Portuguese sunshine, I recently caught up with a former colleague who was in...

blog iconRationing, not targeting

“Will no-one rid me of this troublesome PMT?”[i] Anyone who has worked in social protection knows that the thorniest issue of all is that of “targeting”. The recent polemics on these pages about the inadequacy of the Proxy Means Test (PMT) as a “targeting” mechanism (including my last blog post: Poxy Means...

blog iconIs Nigeria’s Social Protection on the cusp of transformation?

Will the design of a direct cash transfer in Nigeria ensure its ongoing popularity and sustainability? Guest blogger Gbenga Shadare considers the issues. Will community-based targeting of those in poverty provide a necessary safety net? In the course of the last presidential campaign in Nigeria, which saw the People’s Democratic Party overthrown for the...

blog iconSocial protection in fragile contexts: the unique role of pensions

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to attend the international conference on Social Protection in contexts of fragility and forced displacement. One of the recurring messages emerging from the conference was that the ultimate ambition in these contexts should be long-term, nationally-owned social protection systems. I was able to...

Publication IconThe Political Economy of ‘Targeting’ of Social Security Schemes

Don’t target ‘the poor’ if you really want to help ‘the poor’  In this edition of our Pathways Perspectives, Stephen Kidd examines the evidence on the political economy of ‘targeting’. By...