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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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. © 2013 Copyright Development Bank of Southern Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-68
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopment Southern Africa
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • developing countries
  • inequality
  • path-dependence
  • politics
  • poverty
  • social assistance

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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