Social Policy in a Developing World

Social Policy in a Developing World

Edited by Rebecca Surender and Robert Walker

This volume provides a critical analysis of the challenges and opportunities facing social protection systems in the global south, and examines current strategies for addressing poverty and welfare needs in the region. In particular, the text explores the extent to which the analytic models and concepts for the study of social policy in the industrialised North are relevant in a developing country context. The volume analyses the various institutions, actors, instruments and mechanisms involved in the welfare arrangements of developing countries and provides a study of the contexts, development and future trajectory of social policy in the global South.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Rebecca Surender

Subjects: development studies, development studies, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, social policy in emerging countries


While we now understand a great deal about the determinants, processes and distributional implications of social policies in developed countries, there is a continuing absence of knowledge about these matters in development contexts. The lack of basic descriptive information about the variety of mechanisms that poorer countries employ to address social needs and risks, together with a dearth of theoretical analysis explaining welfare policy or differences in cross-national arrangements, is widely bemoaned in the literature (Mares and Carnes 2009; Kennett 2004). There have been notable attempts since the turn of the century to address this deficit. The seminal work of Gough et al. (2004) explores the conditions under which social policy operates in developing countries and constructs a new conceptual framework for understanding different welfare regimes in the global South. The authors show how the management of social welfare and risk in developing countries is mediated under a very different set of institutional conditions from those in developed countries; formulated and implemented by a wider range of policy actors; and conveyed through a variety of different mechanisms and policy instruments. In short, the institutional welfare mix is much more complex and problematic. Others are also beginning to challenge the appropriate- ness of the analytic toolkit developed in the context of rich industrialized countries for understanding the development and dynamics of social protection in the global South (Hall and Midgley 2004; Mkandawire 2004; Haggard and Kaufman 2008; Yeates 2008; Mares and Carnes 2009).