The development of social insurance in Iran: technical-financial conditions and political rationales

This text brings the case of Iranian social insurance (SI) to bear on the processes Iranian politics from 1941 to 1960. It holds that the political needs of upper (1941-51) and of the early autocratic regime (1953-1960) helped to shape SI's nature, extent, and limits. A key objective was to propagandistically use a minimal version of SI to try undermining communist and workers' trade unionist agitation. Iranian SI had two rationales. Although a few workers demanded SI measures during the Constitutional Revolution, the first SI program (1922, 1931, 1933) covered government employees, i.e. was a function of state-building. This paper focuses on a second program, targeting non-government workers. Starting in 1936 (1943, 1949), it was meant to tackle the social and political challenges posed by a nascent industrial working class. However, throughout the 1940s, workers' SI laws remained a dead letter, and the first integrated SI bureaucracy (1953), although ensuring 180,000 people, was in reality quite inefficient.

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In: Iranian studies. - Vol. 39(2006), No. 4, p. 539-568

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