Book Chapter
Social assistance, electoral competition, and political branding in Malawi


'Based on outstanding multi-country research programmes at Cape Town, Manchester and UNU-WIDER, the contributions collected in this volume skilfully lay bare the politics of social assistance in sub-Saharan Africa, and the research toolbox required to do so. The volume makes a huge contribution to our understanding of emerging welfare institutions in the region and will be indispensable reading for researchers and policy makers worldwide.'

Armando Barrientos, Professor Emeritus in Poverty and Social Justice, University of Manchester

'The recent creation or expansion of programmes of social protection all across East and Southern Africa raises intriguing and important issues for scholars of the region’s politics. This book, with its admirable combination of empirical substance and analytic clarity, is a landmark contribution to this new field. It will be a key point of reference for our discussions and debates for many years to come.'

James Ferguson, Stanford University

'Economists devote a large share of their time to analyse the technical aspects of tax and social policies, and not enough time to analyse the political context in which these policies are to be adopted, often with less-than-desirable results. This excellent book helps to redress that imbalance. Through various case studies in Eastern and Southern Africa, it shows why an understanding of the political and institutional context in which policies are to be applied is as important for development results as are the technicalities of the policies themselves.'

Santiago Levy, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

'Social protection research has been preoccupied with operational questions. How to improve programme design? How to build efficient systems? Do cash transfers work? Today researchers ask more fundamental questions. Where did social protection come from? How did cash transfers spread through Africa so rapidly? Which institutions promoted social protection, and why? This engaging book provides fascinating insights and answers to these important questions, drawing on in-depth analysis of social protection policy processes in eight African countries. An indispensable read for everyone interested in social policy.'

Stephen Devereux, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, and University of the Western Cape, Cape Town

'The expansion of social protection systems requires a fundamental reconsideration of our understanding of social development. This book takes on this challenge, providing rich theoretical and empirical analyses of the political, ideational, economic and transnational forces shaping these important policy shifts. It will become a significant landmark in the study of social welfare policy and will greatly influence the next generation of research on social welfare and inclusive development in the Global South.'

Sarah M. Brooks, Ohio State University