'Growing' social protection in developing countries: Lessons from Brazil and South Africa

Armando Barrientos*, Valerie Møller, João Saboia, Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, Julia Mase

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The rapid expansion of social protection in the South provides a rich diversity of experiences and lessons on how best to reduce poverty and ultimately eradicate it. Knowledge on how best to 'grow' social assistance, understood as long-term institutions responsible for reducing and preventing poverty, is at a premium. This article examines the expansion of social assistance in Brazil and South Africa, two of the middle income countries widely perceived to have advanced furthest in 'growing' social protection. It examines three aspects: the primacy of politics in explaining the expansion of social protection and assistance, the tensions between path-dependence and innovation in terms of institutions and practices, and the poverty and inequality outcomes of social assistance expansion. The article concludes by drawing the main lessons for other developing countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-68
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopment Southern Africa
Issue number1
Early online date30 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

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