Unemployment insurance in the Global South since 1950: Drivers of policy adoption

Until 1945, Western countries were the only ones to have introduced unemployment insurance programs. Since their adoption was extremely controversial, almost all Western nations introduced income support for the unemployed only in the wake of national emergencies such as war and economic depression. This article examines the determinants of program adoption in the Global South, which commenced after the Second World War. With the exception of military conflict, we find that the introduction of unemployment insurance was shaped by factors deviating from the driving forces of program adoption in the Western world. More specifically, we provide evidence that international factors such as war, the activities of the ILO and policy diffusion were more important than domestic factors.