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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Rethinking the Universalism versus Targeting Debate

Raj M. Desai at Brookings:

Rethinking the universalism versus targeting debate: According to the International Labor Organization’s latest Social Protection Report, over 70 percent of the world’s population lacks adequate access to social protection. Meanwhile, efforts around the world to redesign social safety nets have revived the debate on targeting versus universalism. Universalism, of course, proposes that all citizens of a nation receive the same publicly provided benefits. By contrast, proponents of targeting argue for using various mechanisms to identify, and distribute the bulk of benefits to, the poor. In the 1970s and 1980s, many developing countries shifted away from broad social policies that emphasized universal benefits (but that often only covered a small fraction of the population) toward programs that required beneficiaries to meet specific criteria. But after years of emphasis on the need to target public resources to vulnerable segments of the population, the pendulum appears to be swinging back toward universalism. What does this imply for developing countries seeking to expand their systems of social protection? ...

    Posted by on Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 12:44 PM in Economics, Social Insurance | Permalink  Comments (13)


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