This paper explores the transnational dimension of social policy by examining the case of Indonesia, where social policy systems have shifted from community-based schemes for social protection and targeting of the poor to more centralized but broadly national coverage. Focusing on the health care system in particular, it draws on in-depth elite interviews and relevant policy documents to demonstrate how global policy diffusion pushed Indonesia towards universal health care provision. It argues that global actors, such as AusAid, WHO and various UN agencies, played an important role in this transformation, and they have done so in different ways. It further argues that this was made possible by qualitative changes in the relationship between the Indonesian government and global actors, especially AusAid, that broke away from earlier models of foreign intervention.
The paper is part of a series of outputs from the research project New Directions in Social Policy: Alternatives from and for the Global South, which examines the emergence, nature and effectiveness of recent developments in social policy in emerging economies and developing countries. The purpose is to understand whether these are fundamentally new approaches to social policy or welfare systems which could offer alternative solutions to the critical development challenges facing low- and middle-income countries in the twenty-first century, in order to shed light on their policy options and choices.
At the time of their collaboration with UNRISD for this project, Alexandra Kaasch
was Junior Professor in Transnational Social Policy at the University of Bielefeld (Germany), Brooke Wilmsen
was Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow at La Trobe University (Australia), and Mulyadi Sumarto
was a faculty member at the Department of Social Development and Welfare, Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia).