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Means testing vs. universal targeting: Assumptions of efficiency and affordability

Citation: Cruz-martinez, Gibran (2016) Means testing vs. universal targeting: Assumptions of efficiency and affordability. HelpAge International . ISSN 978-1-910743-13-3


Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0

Whether social protection benefits should be assigned to all (universal) or kept only for those who meet certain criteria (targeting) remains one of the most contentious questions in social policy research. The purpose of this brief is to revisit two social policy assumptions around basic concerns of efficiency, affordability and sustainability of universal social pensions. Contrary to what many international organisations and scholars have argued, this brief forwards that universal social pensions are economically viable and efficient strategies to produce welfare and alleviate older-age income deprivations. The world clearly has the resources to implement basic social pensions on a global scale; the question is if there is also the political will to do it.

Creators: Cruz-martinez, Gibran (0000-0002-4583-2914) and
Official URL:
Subjects: Human Rights & Development Studies
Latin American Studies
Keywords: Latin America, social protection, pensions, development
Divisions: Institute of Latin American Studies
  • 1 September 2016 (published)


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