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Social protection and fragile states: An historical and ideational institutionalist analysis of agenda development in the World Bank

Mackinder, Sophia (2018) Social protection and fragile states: An historical and ideational institutionalist analysis of agenda development in the World Bank. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Over the past three decades a new paradigm has emerged within international development that seeks to address the issues of fragility and conflict. This new paradigm for engagement brings the state and its ‘capacity’ into the centre of international interventions, and is built around notions of security, economic liberalisation, democratisation and the rule of law. Concurrent with this new approach a concern with poverty emerged, as demonstrated by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the subsequent Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Poverty within fragile and conflict-affected states is a particularly acute problem, as 60% of the world’s extreme poor are projected to be within fragile states by 2030. However, poverty-reduction mechanisms such as social protection suffer from a lack of ‘capacity’ in fragile states, undermining the efficacy of usual processes and policies that are used in non-fragile development contexts. This study therefore seeks to explore the extent to which social protection is considered within the fragile states agenda, to establish whether and how the building of coherent and sophisticated social protection systems is included within the broader ambition of ‘state-building’. Specifically, it looks at the development of – and the interaction between – the fragile states and social protection agendas in the World Bank, the leading and most influential development organisation. The study therefore draws attention to the significance of the World Bank’s institutional architecture as the forum within which the ideas surrounding fragility and social protection develop. Drawing on 43 elite interviews with influential World Bank staffers and a complementary documentary analysis, it employs an historical and ideational institutionalist framework to capture the interplay between the institution, the ideas around fragility and social protection, and the interests of the actors involved in the discourse, to identify the constraining and facilitating influences within the Bank that shape the agendas and their interaction. It finds that not only is the social protection agenda stronger than the fragile states agenda within the Bank, but that the institutional architecture of the organisation has restricted the potential for the two agendas to interact, meaning that the issues around building coherent, sophisticated and effective social protection mechanisms in fragile and conflict-affected states have been neglected until relatively recently.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Social Policy and Social Work (York)
Depositing User: Dr Sophie Mackinder
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2018 16:40
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2018 16:40
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21682

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