Tracing the institutional barriers to the integration of the social protection and fragile states agendas within the World Bank

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The share of the extreme poor living in fragile and conflict-affected situations is projected to rise above 50% by 2030. There is consequently an acute need for poverty-reduction mechanisms such as social protection within these contexts, which requires the integration of the discourse and policies on fragility with those on social protection. This paper traces the development of the two agendas in the World Bank, through documentary analysis and 43 interviews with Bank staff. It explores the extent to which social protection is considered within the fragility agenda (and vice versa), to establish whether the building of social protection systems is included within the broader ambition of ‘state-building’ and considers the barriers to further integration of these agendas. The paper concludes that interaction between them has been limited to date and highlights the Bank’s own institutional architecture as a barrier to a more integrated approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-124
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of International and Comparative Social Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Social Policy Association. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


  • social protection
  • fragile and conflict-affected states
  • World Bank

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