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Social Provision in Low-Income Countries: New Patterns and Emerging Trends

Edited By: G Mwabu

Oxford University Press

Hardback | Apr 2001 | #118106 | ISBN: 0199242194
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NHBS Price: £96.99 $127/€108 approx

About this book

During recent years, provision of key social services in low-income countries has been affected by adverse macroeconomic conditions and by radical changes in economic thinking. For example, the welfarist approach, which gives prominence to the state in delivering and financing social services, has been challenged by the neoliberal approach, which limits the role of the government to that of residual provider for the very poor. According to the neoliberal approach, the private sector could, by relying on price mechanisms, achieve more efficient provision. However, this approach relies on a rather narrow definition of efficiency which ignores social externalities in the delivery and use of services. "Social Provision in Low-Income Countries" analyses the merits and limitations of both welfarist and neoliberal approaches to the provision of key social services in terms of the outcomes and sustainability of the two approaches. The volume proposes an alternative model of social provision, characterized by multiplicity in service delivery and financing. The new model, in which households, civil society, and government play important roles, avoids the inefficiencies of state provision and the exclusion and fragmentation of market-based systems. The authors argue for an integrative approach which encourages the equity and efficiency gained from a synergistic relationship between various service providers. They further argue that the well-known market and government failures in social provision are due to undesirable extremes in policy design, rather than to inherent characteristics of market or government institutions. The strengths of this new approach are illustrated with case studies from Chile, China, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. The volume also describes how social services in Finland were organized in the early stages, and draws policy lessons for present day developing countries.

... an extraordinarily rich and scholarly contribution with a strong policy flavour. Development and Change Often such collections suffer from weak and arbitrarily chosen analytical frameworks, unevenness in addressing key analytical and policy questions, and a general lack of coherence. This volume is a refreshing exception, and makes an important contribution to the development literature. Development and Change


Introduction: Context and Scope; I. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND; 1. The Process of Economic Change; 2. Alternative Approaches to Welfare Policy Analysis: New Institutional Economics, Politics, and Political Economy; 3. Provision of Social Services: Civil Economy, Cultural Evolution, and Participatory Development; II. PATTERNS OF SOCIAL PROVISION; 4. The Role of Civic Organizations in the Provision of Social Services: Towards Synergy; 5. Strategies of Social Provision: Key Design Issues; 6. Contexts of Caretaking: Privatism, Diversity, and Households in Social Provision; 7. The Role of State in the Provision of Social Services: Decentralization and Regulation; III. FINANCIAL ISSUES; 8. User Fees, Expenditure Restructuring, and Voucher Systems in Education; 9. User Charges for Health Care: A Review of the Underlying Theory; IV. CASE STUDIES; 10. Provision of Social Services in Chile: A Search for a New Model; 11. Cost Recovery and Equity in the Health Sector: The Experience of Zimbabwe; 12. Village-based Provision of Key Social Services: The Case of Tanzania; 13. Market-based Reforms and Changes in China's Health Care System; 14. Social Provision in Finland: A Historical Perspective

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