Children's Unequal Entitlements to Social Assistance: A Rights-Based View on the National Social Cash Transfer Arrangements Across the Global South

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:15 AM
Room: F204
Oral Presentation
Katrin WEIBLE , Faculty of Sociology, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany
In most countries of the global South, social cash transfer programmes have spread considerably since the early 2000s. Many of these public social assistance programmes in cash to people considered in need explicitly target children and families, respectively. What can we conclude from this increase of social protection programmes with respect to the children’s right to social security? I restrict the investigation to social cash transfers as a test case of social security:  In what way are children entitled to a social cash transfer?

Based on a huge and newly constructed database including all social cash transfer programmes throughout the global South (produced by the FLOOR research group, Bielefeld University, Germany; www.floorgroup.de), I analyse the institutional design of the programmes from a rights-based perspective. I mainly focus on two questions:

  1. What categories of children are targeted and which restrictions are applied to their entitlements? 
  2. If a particular group of children is entitled to a social cash transfer benefit, to what degree is this entitlement “secure” and reliable?

Whereas the first question sheds light on the aspect under which conditions the children in a country are considered to be (particularly) deserving, the second question refers to the degree of institutionalization of the entitlements in terms of legal foundation, funding etc. 

According to preliminary analyses, I find that both regional and global patterns of children’s entitlements to social cash transfers exist, expressing different constructions of vulnerability and desert. However, there are huge differences both between countries and within countries. I maintain that the institutionalization of the children’s right to social security in form of social cash transfers varies according to the following items: firstly, the child’s characteristics such as age, disability, orphanhood, gender, ethnic origin, and secondly, his surroundings, such as the district of residence and the household composition.