The panel explores the socio-political and economic choices in developing social protection policies in the global South. Covering the issues raised when establishing income transfer systems, it particularly discusses the dynamics of power and interest of multiple stakeholders.
Social protection's marked presence in several of the SDGs has catapulted it into greater prominence recently. However, given countries in the global South are taking different routes to adopting social protection into their national agenda, whilst operating within a broader global policy milieu, there is a strong case for understanding local imperatives and how they are mediated by global factors. Equally important is to engage in the debate on whether social protection must be universal or targeted from a more political perspective that lies beyond the usual cost-benefit analysis. Studies on the socio-political impact of state-led welfare programs, once adopted, are also particularly sparse, especially in developing countries. Along with the relevant analysis of the politics of social protection, it is crucial to also gain an understanding of the relevant economic aspects centred on the controversy around the involvement of the state in income distribution. Whilst one camp justifies state intervention to maximise social welfare through income distribution, the opposing camp believes state intervention will hamper growth. Such in-depth scrutiny of social protection policies, both in their genesis and their consequences, not only has academic value but also practical implications as SDGs come to the forefront of our agenda.