New Frontiers of Social Policy

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This series is designed to address issues of importance to the World Bank's Social Development Strategy, which aims to empower people by transforming institutions to make them more inclusive, responsible, and accountable, and transforming subjects and beneficiaries into citizens with rights and responsibilities. Titles in this series undergo internal and external review under the management of the World Bank Social Development unit.

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 13
  • Publication
    Social Sustainability in Development: Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-03-15) Barron, Patrick; Cord, Louise; Cuesta, José; Espinoza, Sabina A.; Larson, Greg; Woolcock, Michael
    All development is about people: the transformative process to equip, link, and enable groups of people to drive change and create something new to benefit society. Development can promote societies where all people can thrive, but the change process can be complex, challenging, and socially contentious. Continued progress toward sustainable development is not guaranteed. The current overlapping crises of COVID-19, climate change, rising levels of conflict, and a global economic slowdown are inflaming long-standing challenges—exacerbating inequality and deep-rooted systemic inequities. Addressing these challenges will require social sustainability in addition to economic and environmental sustainability. Social Sustainability in Development: Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century seeks to advance the concept of social sustainability and sharpen its analytical foundations. The book emphasizes social sustainability’s four key components: social cohesion, inclusion, resilience, and process legitimacy. It posits that •Social sustainability increases when more people feel part of the development process and believe that they and their descendants will benefit from it. •Communities and societies that are more socially sustainable are more willing and able to work together to overcome challenges, deliver public goods, and allocate scarce resources in ways perceived to be legitimate and fair so that all people may thrive over time. By identifying interventions that work to promote the components of social sustainability and highlighting the evidence of their links to key development outcomes, this book provides a foundation for using social sustainability to help address the many challenges of our time.
  • Publication
    Opening the Black Box: The Contextual Drivers of Social Accountability
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015-04-14) Grandvoinnet, Helene; Aslam, Ghazia; Raha, Shomikho
    This publication fills an important knowledge gap by providing guidance on how to assess contextual drivers of social accountability effectiveness. It aims to strategically support citizen engagement at the country level and for a specific issue or problem. The report proposes a novel framing of social accountability as the interplay of constitutive elements: citizen action and state action, supported by three enabling levers: civic mobilization, interface and information. For each of these constitutive elements, the report identifies 'drivers' of contextual effectiveness which take into account a broad range of contextual factors (e.g., social, political and intervention-based, including information and communication technologies). Opening the Black Box offers detailed guidance on how to assess each driver. It also applies the framework at two levels. At the country level, the report looks at 'archetypes' of challenging country contexts, such as regimes with no formal space or full support for citizen-state engagement and fragile and conflict-affected situations. The report also illustrates the use of the framework to analyze specific social accountability interventions through four case studies: Sierra Leone, Pakistan, Yemen, and the Kyrgyz Republic.
  • Publication
    Institutions Taking Root : Building State Capacity in Challenging Contexts
    (World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2014-09-09) Barma, Naazneen H.; Huybens, Elisabeth; Vinuela, Lorena; Barma, Naazneen H.; Huybens, Elizabeth; Viñuela, Lorena
    Building and operating successful public institutions is a perennial and long-term challenge for governments, which is compounded by the volatile conditions found in fragile settings. Yet some government agencies do manage to take root and achieve success in delivering results earning legitimacy and forging resilience in otherwise challenging contexts. Drawing on mixed-method empirical research carried out on nine public agencies in Lao PDR, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Timor Leste, this volume identifies the shared causal mechanisms underpinning institutional success in fragile states by examining the inner workings of these institutions, along with the external operational environment and sociopolitical context in which they exist. Successful institutions share and deploy a common repertoire of internal and external operational strategies. In addition they connect this micro-institutional repertoire to the macro-sociopolitical context along three discernible pathways to institutional success. Institutional development is a heavily contextual, dynamic, and non-linear process but certain actionable lessons emerge for policy-makiers and development partners.
  • Publication
    Inclusion Matters : The Foundation for Shared Prosperity
    (Washington, DC, 2013-10-18) World Bank
    Today, the world is at a conjuncture where issues of exclusion and inclusion are assuming new significance for both developed and developing countries. The imperative for social inclusion has blurred the distinction between these two stylized poles of development. Countries that used to be referred to as developed are grappling with issues of exclusion and inclusion perhaps more intensely today than they did a decade ago. And countries previously called developing are grappling with both old issues and new forms of exclusion thrown up by growth. Nonlinear demographic transitions, global economic volatility, shifts in the international balance of power, and local political movements have had a large part to play in these shifting sands. These changes make social inclusion more urgent than it was even a decade ago. This report tries to put boundaries around the abstraction that is "social inclusion." Placing the discussion of social inclusion within such global transitions and transformations, the report argues that social inclusion is an evolving agenda. It offers two easy-to-use definitions and a framework to assist practitioners in asking, outlining, and developing some of the right questions that can help advance the agenda of inclusion in different contexts. This report builds on previous analytical work, especially by the World Bank, on themes that touch upon social inclusion, including multidimensional poverty, inequality, equity, social cohesion, and empowerment. There are seven main messages in this report: (1) excluded groups exist in all countries; (2) excluded groups are consistently denied opportunities; (3) intense global transitions are leading to social transformations that create new opportunities for inclusion as well as exacerbating existing forms of exclusion; (4) people take part in society through markets, services, and spaces; (5) social and economic transformations affect the attitudes and perceptions of people. As people act on the basis of how they feel, it is important to pay attention to their attitudes and perceptions; (6) exclusion is not immutable. Abundant evidence demonstrates that social inclusion can be planned and achieved; and (7) moving ahead will require a broader and deeper knowledge of exclusion and its impacts as well as taking concerted action. The report is divided into three parts. Part one is framing the issues. Part two focuses on transitions, transformations, and perceptions. Part three is change is possible.
  • Publication
    Societal Dynamics and Fragility : Engaging Societies in Responding to Fragile Situations
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013-01) Marc, Alexandre; Willman, Alys; Aslam, Ghazia
    The objective of the study reported in this book was to understand how societal dynamics can be mobilized toward a convergence across groups in society and thus toward greater social cohesion overall. The team began with an extensive consultation phase to identify some key societal dynamics that seemed important in understanding fragility. The German Development Cooperation (GIZ) was a key partner in the study, providing support to the analytical phase in the form of a background paper, and technical advice throughout the preparation of the report. The team continued to consult with these experts throughout the fieldwork and the writing of the book. This book reports a study about societal relationships in fragile situations. Drawing on relevant literature and fieldwork in five countries, it suggests that fragility, violent conflict, and state failure are functions not only of state inability or unwillingness to perform core tasks, but also of dysfunctional relationships in society that do not permit a state to be formed or sustained. The present chapter has introduced the problem of fragility and suggested that seeing fragility as a problem of relationships in society can lead to more effective interventions in fragile situations. Chapter two turns to a key area of societal relations, the state society relationship in fragile situations. Chapter three begins a conversation about social cohesion in fragile situations. It suggests a critical element of social cohesion: a convergence across groups in society. Chapter four discusses how perceptions of injustice across groups can deepen divisions and hinder coexistence and collective action. Many times such perceptions can be even more influential than measurable differences across groups (such as income inequality) in fomenting resentment and division. Chapter five then takes up the issue of interactions between institutions in fragile situations. It is suggested that social cohesion contributes to more constructive interactions among institutions, increasing their capacity to realize development goals. Chapter six shifts the focus to certain relationships in society that are particularly important for social cohesion. Chapter seven describes an overall approach to policy and programming, including how to conduct research and develop knowledge from this perspective. Chapter eight offers specific orientations for adapting existing tools and instruments to address the societal bases of fragility.
  • Publication
    Living through Crises : How the Food, Fuel, and Financial Shocks Affect the Poor
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2012-04-03) Heltberg, Rasmus; Reva, Anna; Heltberg, Rasmus; Hossain, Naomi; Reva, Anna
    The food, fuel, and financial crises that started in 2008 reverberated throughout the global economy, causing job losses; poverty; and economic, financial, and political upheaval in countries all over the world. This book is not about the causes of these crises or the macroeconomic and financial sector issues surrounding their origin, spread, and impact; nor is it about how such crises may be prevented in the future. These are important questions, but they have been dealt with in a large number of books, articles, and even movies. Instead, this book is about the more neglected, mundane, and yet centrally important matter of how people lived through the globalized crises of 2008-11, how these people were affected, and what they did to cope. At the time of writing, in late 2011, global food prices had again spiked, and further waves of fiscal and financial shocks were under way, as world economic growth faltered and the euro area sovereign debt crisis mounted. The timing means this book offers vital insights into how people coped, and how they sometimes did not, at a time when such knowledge is most urgently needed. The theme of the book is likely to have an enduring significance, as it offers a unique glimpse into the experience of living through a new type of systemic shock wave that is globalized, highly contagious, and multifaceted. Systemic shocks of the complexity and scale witnessed from 2008 through 2011 are quite unprecedented in world history, but are predicted to be more frequent in the future (Held, Kaldor, and Quah 2010; Goldin and Vogel 2010). The purpose in writing this book is to make the bottom-up perspectives on globalized crises available to a larger audience. The research presents a unique and largely untold account of how people lived through the severe economic turmoil of recent years, how they were affected, and what they did to cope, lending a voice to affected communities themselves.
  • Publication
    Social Dimensions of Climate Change : Equity and Vulnerability in a Warming World
    (World Bank, 2010) Mearns, Robin; Mearns, Robin; Norton, Andrew
    Climate change is widely acknowledged as foremost among the formidable challenges facing the international community in the 21st century. It poses challenges to fundamental elements of our understanding of appropriate goals for social and economic policy, such as the connection of prosperity, growth, equity, and sustainable development. This volume seeks to establish an agenda for research and action built on an enhanced understanding of the relationship between climate change and the key social dimensions of vulnerability, social justice, and equity. The volume is organized as follows. This introductory chapter first sets the scene by framing climate change as an issue of social justice at multiple levels, and by highlighting equity and vulnerability as the central organizing themes of an agenda on the social dimensions of climate change. Chapter two leads off with a review of existing theories and frameworks for understanding vulnerability, drawing out implications for pro-poor climate policy. Understanding the multilayered causal structure of vulnerability then can assist in identifying entry points for pro-poor climate policy at multiple levels. Building on such analytical approaches, chapters three and four, respectively, consider the implications of climate change for armed conflict and for migration. Those chapters are followed by a discussion of two of the most important social cleavages that characterize distinct forms of vulnerability to climate change and climate action: gender (chapter five) and ethnicity or indigenous identity (chapter six), in the latter case, focusing on the role of indigenous knowledge in crafting climate response measures in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Chapter seven highlights the important mediating role of local institutions in achieving more equitable, pro-poor outcomes from efforts to support adaptation to climate change. Chapter eight examines the implications of climate change for agrarian societies living in dry-land areas of the developing world, and chapter nine does the same for those living in urban centers. Chapter ten considers the role of social policy instruments in supporting pro-poor adaptation to climate change; and it argues for a focus on 'no-regrets' options that integrate adaptation with existing development approaches, albeit with modifications to take better account of the ways in which climate variables interact with other drivers of vulnerability. Finally, chapter eleven turns to the implications of climate policy and action for forest areas and forest people.
  • Publication
    Local and Community Driven Development : Moving to Scale in Theory and Practice
    (World Bank, 2010) Binswanger-Mkhize, Hans P.; De Regt, Jacomina P.; Spector, Stephen
    Services are failing poor urban and rural people in the developing world, and poverty remains concentrated in rural areas and urban slums. This state of affairs prevails despite prolonged efforts by many governments to improve rural and urban services and development programs. This book focuses on how communities and local governments can be empowered to contribute to their own development and, in the process, improve infrastructure, governance, services, and economic and social development, that is, ultimately, the broad range of activities for sustainable poverty reduction. Countries and their development partners have been trying to involve communities and local governments in their own development since the end of Second World War, when the first colonies gained independence in South Asia. Pioneers in both India and Bangladesh (then a part of Pakistan) developed a clear vision of how it will be done: local development should be planned and managed by local citizens, their communities, and their local governments within a clearly defined decentralized framework that devolves real power and resources to local governments and communities. Capacity support will be provided by technical institutions and sectors and nongovernmental institutions.
  • Publication
    Delivering Services in Multicultural Societies
    (World Bank, 2010) Marc, Alexandre
    The last two decades have witnessed a growing recognition of the importance of taking cultural and ethnic diversity into consideration when designing and implementing development programs. As societies around the world have become more culturally diverse, and the role culture plays in the formation of identity has become better understood, governments are beginning to pay greater attention to the management of cultural diversity and are becoming more sensitive to issues of cultural exclusion. This book explores how taking cultural diversity into account can affect the delivery of services both positively and negatively, and how local governments can respond to the challenge of programming for and around diversity. The following chapter presents the current debate on the role of governments, at all levels, in managing cultural diversity. Chapter three takes a more in-depth look at specific areas in which the demand for recognition of cultural practices in the delivery of services is strongest. Chapter four examines policies pertaining to basic service delivery that can address and support cultural diversity. Finally, chapter five summarizes the lessons learned from the design of culturally sensitive policies for delivering services to a diverse population.
  • Publication
    Building Equality and Opportunity through Social Guarantees : New Approaches to Public Policy and the Realization of Rights
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2009) Gacitúa-Marió, Estanislao; Norton, Andrew; Georgieva, Sophia V.
    The book showcases an innovative approach to social policy that the author believes can act to transform the capacity of states to implement policies to enhance equality of opportunity among citizens. The approach is built around the framework of social guarantees and emphasizes multiple dimensions in the delivery of services and the realization of rights. The social guarantees approach converts abstract rights into defined standards that can be used as a framework for making public policy accountable to citizens. It emphasizes that effective realization of social rights requires attention not just to dimensions of access, but also to elements of quality, financial protection, and the availability of mechanisms of redress. Social guarantees strengthen citizenship through an emphasis on the policy mechanisms and democratic processes needed to define and support such standards. Rigorous analysis of available public resources and of institutions, programmatic approaches, and legal frameworks is essential to underpin the provision of social guarantees and to ensure that the set standards can be delivered to all.