The Global Rise of Social Cash Transfers: How States and International Organizations Constructed a New Instrument for Combating Poverty

ISBN : 9780198754336

Lutz Leisering
480 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Dec 2018
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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) proclaimed the equality of all human beings in dignity and rights. The right to social security, however, has been taken more seriously only since the 2000s, through calls for 'Social Security for All' and 'Leaving no-one behind'. The book investigates a major response, social cash transfers to the poor. The idea of simply giving money to the poor had been rejected by all major development organizations, but since the early 2000s, social cash transfers have mushroomed in the global South and on agendas of international organizations. How come? What programmes have emerged in which countries? How inclusive are the programmes? What models have international organizations devised? Based on unique quantitative and qualitative data and on newly created concepts and indicators, the book takes stock of all identifiable cash transfers in all Southern countries and of the views of all major international organizations. The volume argues that cash transfers reflect broader changes: new understandings of development, of human rights, of global risks, of the social responsibility of governments, and of universalism. Social cash transfers have turned the poor from objects of charity into rights-holders and agents of their own lives and of development. A repertoire of cash transfers has evolved that has enhanced social citizenship, but is limited by weak political commitments. The book also contributes to a general theory of social policy in development contexts, through a constructivist sociological approach that complements the dominant approaches from welfare economics and political economy and includes a theory of social assistance.


1 Making Sense of a Quiet Revolution-the Global Rise of Social Assistance
Part I: Theories and Concepts
2 Theorizing Social Policy in Development Contexts: A Constructivist Approach
3 Basic Social Security: From Poor Relief to Social Assistance to Social Cash Transfers
Part II: Mapping the Global Rise of Social Cash Transfers
4 Lutz Leisering with Moritz von Gliszczynski: Models of Social Cash Transfers: Policy Proposals by International Organizations
5 Lutz Leisering with Katrin Weible: Social Cash Transfers in the Global South: An Entitlement Revolution
6 Lutz Leisering with Tobias Boger: Case Study: Social Pensions in the Global South
Part III: Explaining the Global Rise of Social Cash Transfers
7 Lutz Leisering with Moritz von Gliszczynski: Changing Global Discourses: New Reasons for Social Security
8 Lutz Leisering with Tobias Boger: National and International Drivers of the Spread of Social Cash Transfers
Part IV: Social Cash Transfers-Past, Present, and Future
9 Social Cash Transfers for the Poor-Achievements, Limitations, Backgrounds
10 Towards a Theory of Social Assistance
11 The Quest for Universalism
Appendix 1
Appendix 2

About the author: 

Lutz Leisering is Professor of Social Policy in the Faculty of Sociology, Bielefeld University, Germany, and founding member of the Institute for World Society Studies. He has published empirical, theoretical, and comparative studies of social policy in Europe and the global South, especially on old-age security, social assistance, global social policy, and the global diffusion of ideas. His publications include German Social Policy (5 volumes, Springer, 2013), The New Regulatory State: Regulating Pensions in Germany and the UK (Edited, Palgrave, 2011), and Time and Poverty in Western Welfare States: United Germany in Perspective (CUP, 1999).

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