Skip to main content
  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2020

From Colonialism to International Aid

External Actors and Social Protection in the Global South

Palgrave Macmillan


  • Offers insights on how colonial powers and Cold War superpowers have tried to influence social protection arrangements in order to serve their objectives to fight communism and maintain the imperial order

  • Combines insights gained from historical research with those from the comparative social policy and international organizations literature

  • Applies a quantitative framework with qualitative techniques, to systematically integrate external actors into the domestic arena of social protection making in the Global South

Part of the book series: Global Dynamics of Social Policy (GDSP)

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 34.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (14 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxv
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 1-1
  3. The Influence of the Colonial Legacy and Cold War on Social Protection

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 43-43
    2. Cold War and Social Protection in Burma and Malaysia

      • Michele Mioni, Klaus Petersen
      Pages 45-77Open Access
  4. The Influence of Donors on Social Protection

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 187-187
    2. The World Bank and the Contentious Politics of Global Social Spending

      • Rahmi Çemen, Erdem Yörük
      Pages 221-243Open Access
    3. The Limits of the Influence of International Donors: Social Protection in Botswana

      • Isaac Chinyoka, Marianne S. Ulriksen
      Pages 245-271Open Access
    4. External Donors and Social Protection in Africa: A Case Study of Zimbabwe

      • Stephen Devereux, Samuel Kapingidza
      Pages 273-302Open Access
  5. Critical Reflections and Conclusion

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 303-303
    2. Transnational Actors and the Diffusion of Social Policies: An Ideational Approach

      • Privilege Haang’andu, Daniel Béland
      Pages 305-332Open Access
    3. Critical Assessment and Outlook

      • Carina Schmitt, Bastian Becker, Judith M. Ebeling, Amanda Shriwise
      Pages 357-376Open Access
  6. Back Matter

    Pages 377-384

About this book

This open access volume addresses the role of external actors in social protection in the Global South, from the Second World War until today, analysing the influence of colonial powers, superpowers during the Cold War and contemporary donor agencies.

Following an introduction to the analysis of external actors in social policy making in the Global South, the contributions explore which external actors were dominant in the decades after World War II, and how they shaped early and contemporary social protection making in developing countries. The latter half of the collection elucidates important players in the contemporary transnational social policy arena, such as donor organizations and international organizations, and critically evaluates the potential for and limits of the explanatory power of external actors in social protection making in the Global South, considering the relative contribution of external and domestic influences.    

By examining how transnational relationships and external actors have influenced the formation, development and transformation of social policies in the developing world, this collection will be an invaluable resource for scholars interested in social protection in the Global South from a range of disciplines. These include political science, social policy, and sociology, as well as historians of the welfare state, international relations scholars and scholars working on global and transnational social policy and development policy. 


  • Cold War
  • colonialism
  • superpowers
  • transnational social policy
  • global social policy
  • Open access



“With few exceptions, social policy scholars have ignored the impact of European imperialism and colonialism on social welfare in the Global South. This book seeks to fill the gap by discussing the way social protection in many developing countries has been affected by the colonial legacy. It also examines the current role of international aid in perpetuating Western influences. It makes an important contribution and deserves to be widely read.” —James Midgley, Professor, University of California Berkeley, USA

“This volume opens a new frontier in global social policy research, the study of post-colonial countries.  Colonizing powers structured social policy regimes in their colonies well before the formation of the World Bank or ILO.  These legacies live on today in different approaches to social protection and many other areas.  This book does a great service by exploring different forms and types of influence, extending the study of global social policy back in time and outwards in geographical scope.” — Mitchell A. Orenstein, Professor, University of Pennsylvania, USA


“This volume is a broad and comprehensive study of the drivers and outcomes of social protections in developing economies.  The authors carefully explore the roles of domestic, external, transnational actors, as well as the impacts of historical legacies in the development (or not) of much needed social policies in   the Global South. By providing new perspectives and focusing on countries that most scholarship has ignored, this volume is bound to make a significant impact in the literature.” —Nita Rudra, Professor, Georgetown University, USA

Editors and Affiliations

  • SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany

    Carina Schmitt

About the editor

Carina Schmitt is Professor of Global Social Policy, SOCIUM - Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy, University of Bremen, Germany.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: From Colonialism to International Aid

  • Book Subtitle: External Actors and Social Protection in the Global South

  • Editors: Carina Schmitt

  • Series Title: Global Dynamics of Social Policy

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020

  • License: CC BY

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-38199-8Published: 30 June 2020

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-38202-5Published: 18 September 2020

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-38200-1Published: 29 June 2020

  • Series ISSN: 2661-8672

  • Series E-ISSN: 2661-8680

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXV, 384

  • Number of Illustrations: 3 b/w illustrations, 11 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Comparative Social Policy, Social Structure, Public Policy, Political Sociology

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 34.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)