GoJIL Vol. 9, No. 3 (2019)
Unpacking the Debate on Social Protection Floors
Social protection policies have been adopted by numerous international actors and are embedded in a wide array of policy and legislative instruments. Conceptually, social protection is ambiguous. This is also true of its different embodiments, such as the concept of vulnerability, and the idea of protection floors. This article looks at social protection floors as manifested in a human rights-based approach and in the context of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The article situates protection floors in the protection of socio-economic rights, and uses that regime as a reference point for examining the materialization of protection floors in IMF policy-making. Against this background, this article revisits two ongoing debates around social protection: the dichotomy between universalism and targeting, and the capacity to induce change. The article calls for a more nuanced debate on protection floors.
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