Falling through the Cracks: Digital Infrastructures of Social Protection in Ecuador

While cash transfers gain prominence as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a strong impulse to regard them as a stepping-stone towards the formalization of employment and universalization of social protection. This contribution problematizes how populations in informality are included in narrowly targeted social assistance interventions, which are heavily reliant on targeted schemes and fail to make informality legible to programme administrators. The focus of the article lies in the politics of exclusion and inclusion that permeate digital infrastructures, particularly data infrastructures such as social registries, that are used to target Ecuador's most prominent social assistance programme, Bono de Desarrollo Humano, and the COVID-related programme Bono de Protección Familiar.