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Questioning the Pro‐Poor Agenda: Examining the Links between Social Protection and Poverty

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This article investigates an empirical puzzle. Taking the case of Botswana, how is it that poverty is so high, when the country largely conforms to pro‐poor growth strategies? This article suggests that the minimal role of social‐security policies partly explains the relatively high poverty levels. This hypothesis is tested in a large‐N study of developing countries which shows that broad‐based and generous, rather than pro‐poor, social‐security policies impact strongly on poverty levels. The analysis further alludes to other obstacles to poverty reduction, such as economic transformation, which may be combined with a pro‐active social‐policy agenda. Thus, poverty‐alleviating strategies should be refocused to allow for a wider and more coherent role for social‐security policies.

Document Type: Research Article


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Publication date: May 1, 2012

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