Social protection’s contribution to social cohesion
Summary of publication
This paper provides an overview of literature and evidence from various countries, discussing how social protection can promote social cohesion. Social cohesion has two aspects: relations amongst citizens and the ‘social contract’ between citizens and the state (Babajanian, 2012). During economic downturns and crisis periods such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, social cohesion can be undermined by citizens’ reduced trust in governments and institutions, political unrest, challenges in essential service delivery, poverty and economic hardship. Social protection can play a role in strengthening social cohesion. This paper draws on five outcomes for assessing the impact of social protection’s progress toward social cohesion (Babajanian, 2012):
- establishing a state-society contract
- ameliorating material poverty
- reducing economic and social inequalities
- tackling social exclusion and promoting social inclusion
- strengthening social capital and interpersonal relations.
The paper finds that social protection’s impact on poverty reduction, citizens’ confidence in government when programs are delivered effectively and equitably, and contribution to social inclusion can help improve social cohesion.