Accepted paper:

The resurrection of social assistance in global social policy debates: evidence from the MENA region

Authors:

Rana Jawad (University of Bath)
Bethany Shockley (University of Bath)

Paper short abstract:

The paper proposes a new typology of social assistance programmes that takes into account the forms of social assistance practiced in the MENA region and explores the influence of political economic drivers in determining the shape of social protection systems and their likely welfare outcomes.

Paper long abstract:

Based on an analysis of the size and structure of social protection programmes in the MENA region dating back to the 1990s, this paper critically examines the current debates regarding the rise of non-contributory social assistance programmes in international development policy discourse. The paper argues that these programmes represent a residual form of social policy which does not enhance social rights or equality as a matter of course. The paper combines theoretical and empirical perspectives on social assistance from the Global North and Global South to highlight the significance of political and institutional factors in the analysis of non-contributory social assistance programmes. It reviews the evidence base for the benefits and limitations of non-contributory social assistance programmes in Europe, Latin America, East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Against this background, the paper presents and discusses new evidence from the MENA region and its implications for inculcating universalistic and rights-based norms in current policy discourses around social assistance. The paper uses qualitative and quantitative data on the MENA region based on two research grants: ESRC and Carnegie Corporation. The data consists of document and fieldwork based analysis of social policy institutions and secondary data on social expenditure. It proposes a revised typology of social assistance programmes that takes into account the forms of social assistance practiced in MENA and explores the influence of political economic drivers in determining the shape of social protection systems and their likely welfare outcomes.

panel M3
International social policy and welfare state transitions: towards universalism 2030? (social policy-development studies dialogues) [paper]