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Call for papers: Pro-poor provision of basic services

29 Jan 2008



UNRISD is currently seeking researchers to write background papers for a chapter of its poverty report (to be published in 2009). The chapter, on “Pro-poor provision of basic social services”, will examine different arrangements for service provision, including public provision, community-driven provision, provision by NGOs, and private sector provision. It will do so within the wider context of debates around liberalization, public sector reform and the progressive disengagement of the state. The chapter will investigate a range of issues surrounding the provision of social services - specifically, education, health and water supply - especially in relation to the poor and the MDGs.

Questions to be addressed include the following: Why is the state disengaging from the provision of basic social services? What impact does this have for the poor? What is the impact of alternative forms of service provision in terms of access and affordability? Since poverty is intrinsically linked to (lack of) access to basic social services, what effects will changes in provision have in terms of achieving the MDG objectives? What are the implications of GATS for the affordability and accessibility of social services? How have high-growth economies delivered social services?

UNRISD will commission three background papers through this call for papers:
  1. GATS and Social services: This paper will provide the general context of the GATS debate. It will discuss how GATS will affect social service provision, especially in a developing country context. The paper will also provide a review of the literature on GATS and social services.
  2. Pro-poor social spending: This paper will define pro-poor social spending and provide a review of the literature. The social sectors to be considered are education, health, and water supply. It will outline some of the delivery mechanisms for pro-poor social services. The paper will also present and discuss examples of how pro-poor social services are used for poverty reduction. In addition it will include a discussion on the forms of service delivery that will most likely be appropriate to meet the MDG.
  3. Social services in "high growth" countries: This paper will try to examine and understand the social service provisions of “high growth” economies. It will provide a review of the literature on social services in “high growth” countries. The paper will present and discuss some examples of “high growth” countries with varying social policies, service provision, spending levels and outcomes. It will also provide data on social indicators in “high growth” countries as well as examine how the services are provided and whether they are pro-poor.

Each paper will define the concepts, contextualize the issues, review the existing academic literature on the subject, and provide data in support of the arguments.

Paper writers will work from home and receive a fee of $5,000. The final paper should be 12,000 - 14,000 words in length. Interested scholars should possess an advanced academic degree in social sciences. To apply, please submit a CV (listing publications) and a 1-2-page outline to Nicola Hypher (email: hypher@unrisd.org) by 8 February 2008.

For more information on the Poverty Report, click here.