After two decades of exclusive focus on stabilization, policy-making in developing countries has begun to shift its focus to issues of social and economic development, poverty eradication and equity. This is occurring at a time when the consolidation of democracy is a concern in many countries. There is a growing realization that social policy can provide the crucial link among these various demands on policy-making. However, to perform this role there is need for a major rethinking of social policy in developing countries so that it not only meets goals of intrinsic value but also serves as a major policy instrument in development. The book's central message is that social policy can be a major transformative contribution to economic development. The contributors argue that social policy should be closely intertwined with economic policy and not treated as a mere afterthought. Collectively the papers draw on both conceptual and empirical evidence to argue the case for the centrality of social policy in development. The book is a major contribution to thinking about social policy and sets out an agenda for future research in this field.