1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

  • 0
  • 0

Back | Programme Area: The Social Effects of Globalization

Economic Restructuring and Social Policy

  • Project from: 1993 to 1994


This project was part of the UNRISD contribution to the World Summit for Social Development. It investigated the goals, assumptions, impacts and possible long-term outcomes of social policy trends in developing countries, which have been substantially affected in recent years by economic crisis and structural adjustment. Social sector spending has been particularly vulnerable to the cuts mandated by adjustment measures, with increased emphasis on narrowing the targeting of such spending and on government withdrawal from certain areas of social provisioning. By the late 1980s, the adverse social impacts of adjustment had become clear, and the resulting political opposition led many governments and their external supporters to design programmes meant to mitigate the social costs of adjustment. The most visible of these are “social fund” or “safety net” measures.

This project examined the rationale behind targeting and compensatory programmes, and assessed them in terms of the three main objectives attributed to them: alleviating poverty and unemployment; improving the political viability of adjustment programmes; and creating new social infrastructure and institutions able to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of social service delivery. The project involved case studies of 13 such programmes in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

This project was carried out with the support of the UNDP and the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research.