The 20th century has been a remarkable age of material advancement and sociopolitical transformation. In all parts of the world, people have witnessed profound changes in their conditions of life: infant mortality rates and adult illiteracy have dropped as dramatically as primary school enrollment and life expectancy have increased. Nevertheless, despite unprecedented material progress, basic education, health care, housing, and social protection remain insufficient for the majority of the world's population.
In developed and developing countries alike, governments are re-evaluating their social policies, programs, and safety nets. They are experimenting with various approaches, including altered principles and procedures for social-service financing and shifting divisions of responsibility for the state, the private sector, and nongovernmental actors.
Reforming Social Policy presents an overview of social policy reforms currently underway in Canada, Chile, and Ghana. It shows how some experimental approaches to reform have worked in different economic, social, and cultural environments and offers perspectives on issues for future research. It will be of interest to researchers, scholars, and students in development studies and social sciences; policymakers and bureaucrats in both governmental and nongovernmental sectors; donors, development organizations, and social policy bodies around the world; and citizens everywhere concerned with the stability of their social safety net.
Daniel Morales-Gómez is Senior Scientist at IDRC and team leader of IDRC's program on the assessment of social policy reform. He is the author of many books and journal articles on education and social policy, including Transnational Social Policies (IDRC 1999).
Necla Tschirgi is Senior Program Specialist at IDRC and team leader of IDRC's program on peacebuilding and reconstruction.
Jennifer Moher is a Research Associate with IDRC's program on the assessment of social policy reform.