Journal of Social Policy

Research Article

The Making of Post-communist Social Policy: The Role of International Agencies

a1 Professor of Social Policy and Director of the International Social Policy Research Unit (ISPRU), Leeds Metropolitan University.
a2 Researcher in Social Policy: ISPRU.


This article demonstrates that the making of post-communist social policy in Eastern Europe and parts of the former Soviet Union is being influenced by a number of international agencies. The implicit and explicit social policy advice being offered by the European Union, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Bank, to the countries of the region, is described and evaluated. The policy thinking of the Bank is given particular emphasis. Brief reference to the role of the International Labour Organisation and the International Monetary Fund, in this regard, is also made. The advice, both at the general level of the broad orientation of social policy and at the specific level of social security and social assistance of the agencies, is compared. It is suggested that the making of post-communist social policy is a testing ground for the future of social policy elsewhere in the industrialised world. This future, in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, is being influenced by the global social policy discourse that now exists within and between the global agencies studied here. This discourse is mapped and reflects both existing social policy orientations (liberalism, conservatism, social democracy) and the new post-Fordist social policy orientations of social liberalism, as well as that based on the concept of a citizenship income.

(Received May 16 1995)
(Accepted August 30 1995)

fn1 The authors gratefully acknowledge research support from Leeds Metropolitan University.