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Social Protection 2.0 (Feb 2011)[1]

Social Protection 2.0 (Feb 2011)[1]

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Published by: lawrencehaddad on Feb 06, 2011
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Social Protection 2.0
 Exploring Issues, Evidence and Debates in a Globalizing World 
Ugo Gentilini* and Steven Were OmamoDraft, February 2011
. This paper reviews the growing literature on social protection. While not new, the conceptevolved remarkably in recent years. It is approached from a multitude of perspectives, and intersectswith broader bodies of literature
particularly around public policy, pro-poor growth, rights,humanitarian strategies, and aid effectiveness
as well as feeding into specific programmatic issues(conditionality, targeting, transfer selection and delivery). This blend of challenges and approacheshas made debates often elusive and polarized. The paper examines the evolution and definitions of social protection, and unbundles critical policy, institutional and implementation quandaries. Takentogether, these considerations shape a set of context-specific models of social protection. The fourcore areas identified in the conclusions may help chart future directions for social protection researchand practice.
: Social protection, safety nets, risk, rights, public policy, insurance, transfers, foreign aid.
* Corresponding author. Comments are welcome and could be sent to Ugo.Gentilini@wfp.org. The authors are,respectively, Policy Officer at WFP
and Director of WFP‟s Liaison Office at the Africa
n Union. The paper only
reflects their personal views, not necessarily WFP‟s.
1. Introduction
In its most basic meaning, social protection is not a new concept. In essence, it captures howmembers in societies support each other in times of distress, whereas societies are represented bymembers of tribal communities, state taxpayers or group of nations. Over the centuries
from theindustrial revolution to the era of globalization
social protection has been a central tenet of 
countries‟ social contract
as economies become more formalized, market-oriented andinterconnected.More recently, the concept has been conceptualized from a wide range of perspectives, ranging froma macroeconomic stabilizer to needs-based emergency responses; from supporting householdsmanaging risks to rights-based approaches. The overall frameworks that emerge point to multipleobjectives
spanning over assistance, insurance and social transformation
that intersect broadertraditional debates around public policies, development strategies, and aid effectiveness.At the same time, discussion of social protection increasingly transcends national boundaries. WhileOECD countries are facing significant challenges in welfare reform (The Economist 2010a, 2010b),emerging economies are playing a growing role in shaping the global social protection agenda. Whiletheir systems are still developing
, countries like Brazil, China and South Africa are proactivelyexperimenting, expanding and challenging policy models, hence bulging as new poles of innovationin social protection (Barnett and Chalk 2010; Devereux 2010; Ribe et al. 2010). Furthermore, infragile states and contexts of protracted crises, social protection is also revitalizing longstandingdebates on reconciling humanitarian and developmental approaches (FAO 2010; Maxwell et al.2010; Barrett et al. 2008).Clearly, this blend of old and new dynamics not only redesigns trajectories in research, learning andexperience-sharing
, but also elevates the level of complexities for policy-making. As worldeconomies
and food systems within them
grow more interconnected and coexist with chronicfood insecurity (Naylor and Falcon 2010; Reardon et al.
2009), Tanzi‟s (2000) call for „imagination‟
 in repositioning social protection in a globalizing world remains ever-compelling.Taken together, these considerations suggest that the breadth and depth of issues that conflate insocial protection makes it a complex, fluid and sometimes elusive matter. Therefore, this paper aimsto unbundle and examine key factors that underpin current social protection debates. To this effect,
For example, according to the ILO (2010), the share of working-age population contributing to an old-age pensionschemes in OECD countries averages nearly 70 percent. That indicator, which signals the degree of formality andintegration of a social protection system, tends to be considerably lower in Brazil (45.2), China (22.6) and India (6.4).More generally, the report estimated that
only one-third of countries globally (inhabited by 28 percent of the globalpopulation) have comprehensive social protection systems
(…) [and that] only about 20 percent of the world‟s working
-age population (and their families) have effective access to comprehensive social protec
(ILO 2010, p.1). 
For example, emerging countries are not only supporting advancements in low-income contexts
e.g. see the
 Africa- Brazil Cooperation Program on Social Protection
(Andrade 2008)
but also in OECD countries, as illustrated by aMexico-inspired conditional cash transfer program launched in New York City (Riccio 2010). As a recent symposiumreport put it,
„convergence‟ in global problems is encouraging „divergence‟ in solutions – 
that is “… homegrown recipes
to alleviate and/or eradicate poverty prove exporta
 ble in sometimes surprising ways” (IDS and
JRF 2010, p.2).
the next section reviews the evolution and definitions of social protection; policy, institutional andimplementation issues are discussed in sections 3, 4 and 5 respectively. Section 6 illustrates atypology of context-specific models, while section 7 discusses key conclusions and future directions.
2. Unpacking social protection
The exploration of social protection in scientific publications seems a relatively recent phenomenon.For instance, between 1800 and 1900 references to social protection in the development literaturewere almost inexistent
; the use of the term started to slightly raise from 1900 until 1980, at whichpoint references boomed by a steep six-fold increase until 2000
. The widely documented „adjustmentwith a human face‟
literature in the late 1980s and 1990s (World Bank 2000; Jolly 1991) wasfollowed by a period, the early and mid-2000s, during which many of the modern social protectionpolicy frameworks were formulated (DFID 2005; Devereux and Sabates-Wheeler 2004; Shepherd2004; WFP 2004; ADB 2001; World Bank 2001). During that period, the literature flourished andoften revisited the role of social protection under a holistic and forward-looking perspective, asopposed to its passive and narrow role played in the 1990s (Devereux 2003; Ravallion 2003;Farrington and Gill 2002; Holzmann and Jorgensen 2001). In was in this context of new demand forevidence and publication outlets that, for example,
the World Bank‟s
Social Protection DiscussionPaper Series
was lunched, the first wave of impact evaluations of Mexico‟s
program published, and academic journals devoted special issues to the topic(Holzmann 2009; Conway and Norton 2002; Hoddinott et al. 2000).
By the mid-2000s, it was clear that social protection was influencing both the humanitarian anddevelopment space (Devereux and Sabates-Wheeler 2007; Longley et al. 2006; Devereux 2006,
2001). Flagship programs like Brazil‟s
 Bolsa Familia
and Ethiopia‟s Productive Safety Net
Programme (PSNP), for example, were indeed launched in 2003 and 2005 respectively (Fiszbein andSchady 2009; GoE 2009). Over the next years, new research started exploring broader territories,such as the interactions between social protection and climate change, entrepreneurship and social justice (Davies et al. 2008; Barrett et al. 2007; Euzeby 2004). Dedicated regional policy researchhubs blossomed, including for example the Centre for Social Protection in Europe, the RegionalHunger and Vulnerability Programme in Southern Africa, the International Policy Center forInclusive Growth in Latin America, the Social Protection in Asia Programme, and the Washington-based Inter-American Social Protection Network 
Estimates based on the
Google Books Ngram Viewer 
tool, assembling a corpus of 5 million books spanning 1800-2000:http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=social+protection&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3.
See, respectively, http://www.ids.ac.uk/go/csp; http://www.wahenga.net/; http://www.ipc-undp.org/;http://www.socialprotectionasia.org/default.asp; and http://www.socialprotectionet.org/english/index.html.

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