Determinants of social development in the developing world are unclear just as the ones facilitating economic development and industrialization. The subject has remained a controversial one for a while, at least among academics, and might remain that way for years to come. From McGuire to Haggard and Kaufman to Huber and Stephens, different theories have been put forward to explain the origin or causes of social entitlements in the global South, as well as its development over time, with no central point of agreement among the authors.
Even though there is a lack of agreement as to the main determinants of social development in the developing world among the authors, they all agree that, raising the human capital of individuals mainly through investments in education, as well as provision of social insurance, services, and assistance are necessary and important in the fight against poverty and inequality.
In this paper, I will focus and analyse the different explanations of social development, offered by Huber and Stephens in their book “Democracy and the Left” and by Haggard and Kaufman in “Development, Democracy and the Welfare States”. I will argue that while both explanations seem to have their merits and limitations, Haggard and Kaufman’s argument seem to be more convincing, as their explanation of factors influencing social development could be easily applied to most regions of the developing world than the one put forward by Huber and Stephens. However, this not to suggest, as I will demonstrate in the paper, that explanations offered by Huber and Stephens are completely inadequate as it rightly described to an extent, the development of social benefits in the region they focused on –Latin America.
This paper has been divided into four distinct sections. Section 2 offers some synthesis of the two literatures consulted, drawing out the main arguments running through them. The third section lays out my assessment and arguments, as well as my stance on the two literatures consulted while thoroughly analysing and engaging them. Section 4, the last section, concludes my arguments.
2. Literature Synthesis
Huber and Stephens, focusing on Latin America, seek to explain the main determinants of social development in the region, with much emphasis laid on two different periods. The first period (pre- 1980) was before the economic crises and reform era which was largely coordinated by the World Bank and other International Financial Institutions. The second focused on the post-crises and reform era in the region.
The authors argue that the origin of social entitlements in Latin America, as well as its development over time are dependent on four main factors: political regime, strength of the ‘left’ party, impacts of organized labour, and effects of globalization.
Democracy, according to their analysis was found to be the main determinant necessary for redistributive social policy. Democracy, they argue, promotes egalitarian social...