Does social protection matter for social cohesion?

Event Type
Round table debate

Bonn, 04.12.2019


German Development Institute/ Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

The primary objective of social protection, especially in low- and middle-income countries, is to tackle poverty and vulnerability. In addition, it is often argued that social protection schemes or systems have the potentiality to achieve other objectives such as empowering vulnerable groups, incentivizing beneficiaries to engage in more remunerative economic activities, and promoting social cohesion. Social cohesion can be defined as “both, the vertical and the horizontal relations among members of society and the state as characterized by a set of attitudes and norms that includes trust, an inclusive identity, and cooperation for the common good”.

With regard to social cohesion, however, the mechanisms through which social protection can generate important benefits are not entirely clear. The public panel discussion at DIE on 4 December 2019 therefore discussed, among others, the following questions:

  • How important is social protection for social cohesion?
  • Are all social protection schemes contributing to social cohesion? Under what conditions?
  • In which way does social protection impact social cohesion? Which aspect of it: trust between people, feeling of social belonging, trust in the government, readiness to engage for public goods?
  • Is it possible to say that social protection helps to overcome state fragility, set up social contracts and build nations?
  • Does social cohesion also have an impact on social protection schemes?
  • What are the implications for policy advice?



Samuel Hickey, Global Development Institute/ School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester, United Kingdom

Markus Loewe, Research cluster “Social Policy, Poverty, Inequality”, German Development Institute/ Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bonn, Germany

Keetie Roelen, Centre for Social Protection, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Brighton, United Kingdom

Rachel Slater, Centre for International Development and Training, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

Elsa Valli, Innocenti, UNICEF’s Office of Research, Florence, Italy



Daniele Malerba, Research cluster “Social Policy, Poverty, Inequality”, German Development Institute/ Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bonn, Germany

Participants had been invited to continue discussions over light refreshments following the round table debate.

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Event information

Date / h
04.12.2019 / 17:00 - 19:00


German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
Tulpenfeld 6
53113 Bonn, Germany