Political Power and Digital Payments in a Government Social Cash Programme

Kemal, Atika A (2016) Political Power and Digital Payments in a Government Social Cash Programme. In: Power Politics and Digital Development, 12-14 September 2016, University of Oxford, UK. (Accepted)

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Abstract

The opportunities provided by digital technologies to governments in distributing digital welfare payments, or government-to-person (G2P) payments to poor citizens has had a profound effect on the inclusion agenda in many developing countries. However, paucity remains on research that investigates the motivations behind the transition from cash to digital G2P payments and its effects on institutional practices. Hence, this paper examined the case of a government social cash programme in Pakistan that implemented digital payments for disbursing G2P payments to poor women beneficiaries. It explored how the interplay of political forces with external and institutional forces influenced the construction of digital payments and its implications on programme managers. Also, how digital payments affected the power equilibrium for certain political actors involved in the programme. Through case study research, qualitative data was collected through interviews conducted with programme designers and stakeholders in the G2P programme. The findings concluded that digital technologies were socially-embedded in the organisational context, so were progressively transformative for programme designers. Hence, digital payments led to the institutional strengthening of the G2P programme, albeit, diminished the power of other political actors. As contribution, the paper sheds light on how the construction of digital payments was a socio-political process that shifted the power equilibrium by creating new structures of power and authority. This paper has implications for governments, banks and international funding agencies who are utilising digital payments to promote the inclusion agenda for its citizens.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: Digital payments, Political power, technology innovation
Faculty: Lord Ashcroft International Business School
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email atika.kemal@anglia.ac.uk
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2016 08:33
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2016 08:33
URI: http://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/700962

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