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Back | Programme Area: The Social Effects of Globalization

Adjustment and Social Sector Restructuring

Edited Volume by Jessica Vivian.

Social policy in developing countries has been substantially affected in recent years by economic crisis and structural adjustment, and - perhaps more importantly - by the ascendance of neo-liberal ideology which accompanied adjustment. There has been an increased emphasis on narrowing the targeting of social 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 the "social fund" or "safety net" measures begun in the late 1980s. These programmes are not only meant to address the social impacts of economic policy reform, but also to improve the social and political acceptability of adjustment measures. In addition, they are seen by some as providing a model for new, more efficient and effective means of social service provisioning.

This volume examines the goals, assumptions, impacts and possible long-term outcomes of social policy trends in a number of developing countries. Contributor Maureen Mackintosh analyses the emerging social sector reform model and explores its contradictions. Lourdes Benería and Breny Mendoza compare the social fund programmes set up in Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua following the original Bolivian experiment. Samuel Gayi assesses the Ghanaian programme, which became the basis of the African safety net model. Guy Mhone's chapter shows how this model was applied several years later in Zimbabwe. Barbara Harriss-White analyses the much less externally dictated terms of the Indian experience. In the introductory chapter, the editor, Jessica Vivian, draws on the findings of recent UNRISD research in this area to argue that the social fund model will not, by itself, provide the solution to the social costs of adjustment.

This book was also published as a special issue of The European Journal of Development Research, Vol. 7, No. 1, June 1995
  • Publication and ordering details
  • Pub. Date: 1 Jun 1995
    Pub. Place: London
    ISBN: 0 7146 4199 5
    Type: Paperback
    From: Frank Cass