Targeting and universalism - complementary or competing paradigms in social policy? Insights from Brazil, India and South Africa.
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9th Global Labour University Conference "Inequality within and among Nations: Causes, Effects, and Responses"
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The paper deals with the prevailing paradigms of social policies. Drawing on the distinction between universalist (i.e. rights-based) and targeted (i.e. focused on the poor) social welfare policies, we examine the welfare regimes and recent policy innovations in Brazil, South Africa and India, namely conditional cash transfers, food transfer schemes and employment programs.
In order to reassess the relationship between targeting and universalism, we analyze which groups have historically been included or excluded into the social welfare system. On these grounds, we arrive at the conclusion that the two approaches need not necessarily be contradictory. In our view, a ?targeted universalism? avoids the traps of both and could be a more appropriate approach to social welfare for emerging countries with widespread poverty and durable reproduction of social inequality.