This research analyses the political economy of social protection policy formulation and implementation in sub-Saharan Africa, with a view to explaining variation in national experiences.
Five countries have been selected for in-depth analysis, comprising three countries that are relatively advanced in social protection policy formulation, namely, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Kenya; and two that have made slower progress, namely, Uganda and Zambia. These countries also experience a diversity of political settlements, including broad and narrow dominant party, and competitive clientelist systems. Comparative analysis of these countries will enable the project to examine the links between variation in the type of political settlement, the orientation of the ruling coalition towards the expansion of social protection, and the ruling coalition’s openness to ideational influence.
Under what political conditions do elites adopt and promote social protection policies in sub-Saharan Africa, and, in particular, how is this shaped by political settlements and transnational ideas?
Methods and research design
The research will have four main components:
- An historical analysis of each country’s political settlements.
- An analysis of social policy and its linkages to national development strategies, the political and economic objectives of these policies, and the dominant social policy ideas that they represent. This analysis will cover both contemporary policy and past approaches.
- Process tracing of the policy process, involving key informant interviews with representatives of key government and donor agencies involved in the design of social protection policies.
- Analysis of the politics of implementation as a means of assessing political commitment to policies and the influence of power relations on implementation.
The first two research activities will draw on secondary literature, including a growing body of work on political settlements in several of the case study countries, as well as government and donor policy documents and laws. Where gaps in the existing literature and documentary evidence are identified, these will be addressed through key informant interviews with relevant respondents.
The third research activity involves process tracing of debates on the expansion of social protection in the country; this will constitute the main empirical contribution of the project. For this process, tracing, documentary and archival evidence may provide useful inputs. However, key informant interviews will be vital to the research objectives.
The fourth activity, on implementation, will draw on a mix of key informant interviews and existing policy evaluation work.
How does this project fit within ESID’s research agenda?
This research contributes to ESID’s broader objective of identifying the political drivers of inclusive development, with a particular focus on how different political settlements shape developmental forms of elite commitment and state capacity.
|Lead Researcher||Tom Lavers||International Labour Organization, Geneva|
|Researcher||Sam Hickey||University of Manchester, UK|
|Researcher||Badru Bukenya||Makerere University, Uganda|
|Researcher||Anna McCord||Consultant, UK|
|Researcher||Hinda Ruton||National University of Rwanda|
|Researcher||Professor Frederick Wanyama||Maseno University, Kenya|
|Researcher||Benjamin Chemouni||London School of Economics, UK|
|Researcher||Kate Pruce||University of Manchester, UK|
Kate Pruce and Sam Hickey (2017). ‘The politics of promoting social protection in Zambia‘. ESID Working Paper 75.
Tom Lavers (2016). ‘Social protection in an aspiring ‘developmental state’: The political drivers of Ethiopia’s PSNP‘, ESID Working Paper 73.
Benjamin Chemouni (2016). ‘The political path to universal health coverage: Elite commitment to community-based health insurance in Rwanda‘, ESID Working Paper 72.
Tom Lavers (2016). ‘Social protection in an aspiring ‘developmental state’: The political drivers of community-based health insurance in Ethiopia‘, ESID Working Paper 71.
Sam Hickey and Badru Bukenya (2016). ‘The politics of promoting social cash transfers in Uganda‘, ESID Working Paper 69.
Tom Lavers (2016). ‘Understanding elite commitment to social protection: Rwanda’s Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme‘, ESID Working Paper 68.
Tom Lavers and Sam Hickey (2015). ‘Investigating the political economy of social protection expansion in Africa: At the intersection of transnational ideas and domestic policies‘, ESID Working Paper 47.
Maia Green (2014). ‘Co-producing ineffective states: Social knowledge, social policy and social citizenship in Africa and in development‘. ESID Working Paper 14.