Where Next for Social Protection?

  • Devereux S
  • Roelen K
  • Ulrichs M
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© 2016 Institute of Development Studies. The rapid ascendancy of social protection up the development policy agenda raises questions about whether its current prominence will be sustained, or whether it will turn out to be just another development fad. What trajectory will social protection follow, which actors will drive it forward and what will be the main issues and challenges? This article reports on a small foresight study designed to address the question: ‘Where next for social protection?' A scenario-building exercise revealed that there is no single linear pathway for social protection, but multiple highly context-specific trajectories subject to change as political ideologies and institutional capacities shift. A ‘wind-tunnelling’ exercise highlighted the importance of a country’s political regime as a fundamental determinant of which social protection policies will be adopted. Better understanding of political processes is needed to protect gains made in social protection against possible reversals when the political climate shifts against pro-poor redistributive policies.




Devereux, S., Roelen, K., & Ulrichs, M. (2016). Where Next for Social Protection? IDS Bulletin, 47(4). https://doi.org/10.19088/1968-2016.158

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