Where next for social protection?

Social protection is one of the success stories of development policy in the early 21st century. Every year, more countries adopt a National Social Protection Policy or Strategy, new programmes are launched, and evaluations build the evidence base of impressively positive impacts.

This trajectory prompts our research question: where next for social protection? Will it expand, plateau or decline? Will social protection continue to grow both conceptually and operationally, will it consolidate its position in government and donor policy, or will it prove to be just another development fashion that fades away in the coming years?

This project aims to address a number of questions:

  • Is social protection likely to become more or less prominent in development policy in the coming years? 
  • Which key factors and actors are likely to shape the evolution of the social protection agenda? 
  • What major issues and debates will dominate social protection thinking and practice in the next 5-10 years? 
  • At the global level, will regional differences in social protection persist, or is there likely to be convergence around a set of standardised social protection policies? 
  • At the national level, what practical challenges will countries face in building comprehensive social protection systems? 

A variety of methods will be used to gain insight into these questions, seeking to tap into a broad range of perspectives on the field of social protection. Methods include a literature review, interviews, online discussion and scenario-planning workshops.

Key contact

Photo of Keetie Roelen, Research Fellow in the Centre for Social Protection, IDS

T: +44 (0)1273 915824

E: k.roelen@ids.ac.uk

More details
Photo of Stephen Devereux, IDS Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Research Fellow

T: +44 (0)1273 915813

E: s.devereux@ids.ac.uk

More details

Where Next for Social Protection?

IDS Evidence Report 124 (2015)
Devereux, S., Roelen, K. and Ulrichs, M.
Project Dates:
August 2014 - August 2017
Project Status:
Department for International Development (DFID)
Research Themes / Programmes:
Centre for Social Protection
Social Protection