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Cash Transfers and Basic Social Protection offers a ground-breaking analysis of the discourses that facilitated the rise of cash transfers as instruments of development policy since the 1990s. The author gives a detailed overview of the history of social protection and identifies the factors that made cash transfers legitimate policy.




Around the world the turn of the New Millennium in 2000 was perceived as a chance to begin anew and face the global challenges that had arisen since the fall of the Iron Curtain ten years before. A new leaf was turned over by many crucial institutions and organisations, both nationally and internationally, including the United Nations and its specialised agencies. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were created as a promise that the global policy community would do its utmost to eradicate the most severe forms of poverty, hunger and disease that had been plaguing developing countries for so long. However, the MDGs did not clarify how to actually face the problems of the developing world and left global organisations to search for their own solutions.

Moritz von Gliszczynski

1. Theory: A Multi-level Analysis of Global Policy Ideas

In this introductory chapter, I attempt to delineate a tentative theoretical framework for the analysis of the discursive background of global policies, based on three eminent strands of research: ideational approaches to policy analysis, the sociology of knowledge approach to discourse (SKAD) and world society theory. These three strands of research will not only serve as the basis of my analytical approach, but also provide hypotheses and guiding questions regarding the career of cash transfers that will guide my empirical analysis.

Moritz von Gliszczynski

2. Constructing Global Models of Cash Transfers (2000–2012)

In this chapter, I begin my empirical analysis by identifying four major variants of cash transfers — family allowances, conditional cash transfers, social pensions and general household assistance — and trace their career as global policy models. In particular, I analyse to what degree each variant of cash transfers was institutionalised as a global model and name three factors that have facilitated the career of each model in some way: advocacy by one or several global organisations, the availability of national examples for the given variant of cash transfer and, finally, the production of statistical evidence on the positive effects of the model.

Moritz von Gliszczynski

3. Social Protection as a Paradigm of Development Policy (1990–2000)

In the following, I move further into the discursive background that legitimised the four variants of cash transfers analysed in Chapter 2. Following my analytical framework, I analyse whether the legitimisation of cash transfers was facilitated by the emergence of a new policy paradigm on the global level.

Moritz von Gliszczynski

4. Global Discourses: The Ideas behind Cash Transfers

The analysis of the policy paradigm behind cash transfers in the previous chapter demonstrates that different ideas emerged and combined from the early 1990s onwards to form a web of ideas that legitimises non-contributory benefits to the poor as development policy. I assume that the emergence of a new paradigm is the result of prior shifts in global discourses that fundamentally changed the ideas of policy actors (see Chapter 1).

Moritz von Gliszczynski


At the beginning of this book, I set out to provide a comprehensive analysis of the career of social cash transfers in global policy. Two major questions have guided this analysis: Firstly, in how far cash transfers have been part of a ‘development revolution’, and secondly, whether cash transfers are connected to a wider model of social protection that has implications for the future of social policy in the Global South.

Moritz von Gliszczynski


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