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© Markus Richter / Faculty of Sociology

About Us

FLOORCASH is a collection of datasets which were constructed under the Research Project FLOOR (sociological branch) which investigated social cash transfers in the global South. The project, funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), was based at the Faculty of Sociology, Institute for World Society Studies, Bielefeld University, Germany (principal investigator: Prof. Lutz Leisering PhD). The project ran 2010-2017.

Research Questions

The research project pursued four questions:

  1. How to make sense of the move towards social cash transfers? (taking stock, mapping) This is a research puzzle since the term "social cash transfers" denotes a broad range of highly diverse schemes. What types or models can be identified? When were social cash transfers introduced? How far have social cash transfers actually spread, that is, to what countries and with what patterns, e.g. regarding types of social cash transfers? Who gets what and under what condition: who is covered by social cash transfers within the countries; what is the level of benefits paid; is access conditioned on a means-test or on behavioural requirements? How are social cash transfers institutionalised in legal and administrative terms?

  2. How did international organisations come to adopt social cash transfers as a global model? What changes in ideas, discourses and global policies mattered?

  3. How can we explain the spread of social cash transfers in the global South? Why did social cash transfers spread in the 2000s? What domestic factors mattered? What was the role of external factors like horizontal diffusion (from other countries) or vertical diffusion (from international organisations and international law)?

  4. How do social cash transfers impact on social citizenship? This is to look beyond material impacts like poverty reduction, which are broadly covered by the literature, to include aspects of social recognition of the poor. Do social cash transfers provide at least a modicum of social citizenship for the poor? Or do they entail new social divisions and exclusions?

Before the research project started, all these questions had not been tackled, and in fact, could not be tackled for lack of data that would cover the whole global South. The research team, therefore, constructed four datasets - the FLOORCASH datasets. These datasets fill a gap in the data infrastructure on social cash transfer programmes in the global South. FLOORCASH may be of interest both to scholars and practitioners involved in social protection or development policy.

The FLOOR Team (Sociological Branch)

  • Prof. Lutz Leisering PhD
    Principal investigator; Professor em. of Social Policy, Faculty of Sociology, Institute for World Society Studies, Bielefeld University

  • Katrin Weible, M.A.
    Now PhD candidate at the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology, Bielefeld, Germany

  • Dr. Moritz von Gliszczynski
    Now social planner

  • Dr. Michael Leutelt

    Now business consultant
  • Dr. Tobias Böger
    Now researcher at the University of Bremen, CRC 1342 'Global Dynamics of Social Policy'

  • Dr. John Berten
    Now researcher and lecturer at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen,
    Institute of Political Science, Research Unit Comparative Public Policy

  • Prof. Dr. Tao Liu
    Now Junior professor for comparative sociology with special emphasis on Chinese society, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Sociology and Institute of East Asian Studies, Duisburg, Germany; Visiting Professor, Nanjing University, China

The Wider Interdisciplinary Research Group FLOOR

The FLOOR project on social cash transfers in the global South was the sociological branch of a wider interdisciplinary research group on social security as a human right, FLOOR (Financial assistance, Land policy, glObal sOcial Rights). Besides the sociological project on social cash transfers, FLOOR included a project on socio-ecological land policy (principal investigator Prof. Dr. Benjamin Davy, School of Spatial Planning, TU Dortmund University of Technology) and a project on UN-sponsored social human rights (principal investigator Prof. Dr. Ulrike Davy, Institute for World Society Studies and Faculty of Law, Bielefeld University).

A Cooperation Group on global social citizenship (Center for Interdisciplinary Research, Bielefeld University, Germany; 2011) contributed to the work of the FLOOR group. The Cooperation Group included Armando Barrientos, Benjamin Davy, Ulrike Davy, Hartley Dean, Harvey M. Jacobs, Lutz Leisering and Sony Pellissery.