This panel aims to bring together research on the politics of implementation and the political impacts of social protection programmes, highlighting drivers of variation within and between countries, as well as examining the impacts of social protection on state-society relations more broadly.
Recent years have seen growing interest in the politics of social protection, yet the focus thus far has been on the drivers of programme adoption and design, with much less consideration of the politics of implementation and the political impacts of programmes. This panel aims to bring together research on these topics, highlighting drivers of variation within and between countries, as well as examining the impacts of social protection on state-society relations and politics more broadly. Theoretical debates from the welfare state literature and the politics of development suggest fruitful lines of enquiry, with the politics of implementation an essential determinant both of the impacts of social protection programmes and their future sustainability. To that end we would welcome papers that address the following questions and related topics: • How does variation in state capacity and state-society relations within countries shape implementation and effectiveness of social protection projects? How do these patterns relate to historical processes of state formation? • In what ways does electoral competition shape incentives for implementing social protection programmes? Is the expansion of social protection a vote-winning strategy? Does social protection implementation form the basis of emergent social contracts or reinforce clientelist relationships? • What influence do transnational actors have over social protection implementation? Can transnational actors compensate for limited state capacity? How transnational agendas fit with priorities of domestic actors? • Does social protection contribute to building social cohesion and political legitimacy, as often claimed? How do political feedback effects vary by programme type (contributions, conditions, targeted vs universal)?