Productive Role of Safety Nets - World Bank Group

Mar 1, 2012 - Most social protection programs affect growth through all of these .... The new World Bank Social Protection and Labor Strategy aims to build a strategic ...... transfers reduce strain on the informal networks, and improved ...
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Abstract The paper contains a short theoretical framework for linking social protection with growth and productivity, an updated review of the literature, new original work filling in gaps in the available evidence, and a discussion of operational implications. The paper demonstrates that there was a shift in the economists’ view on social protection, and now they are seen as a force that can make a positive contribution towards economic growth AND reduce poverty. The paper looks at pathways in which social protection programs (social insurance and social assistance programs, as well as labor programs) can support better growth outcomes: (i) individual level (building and protecting human capital, and other productive assets, empowering poor individuals to invest or to adopt higher return strategies), (ii) local economy effects (enhancing community assets and infrastructure, positive spillovers from beneficiaries to non-beneficiaries), (iii) overall economy level (acting as stabilizers of aggregate demand, improving social cohesion and making growth-enhancing reforms more politically feasible). Most social protection programs affect growth through all of these pathways. But the evidence is very uneven; and there are knowledge gaps. The paper discusses operational implications for the design and implementation of SP programs and proposes a work program for addressing knowledge gaps.

NO. 1203

Productive Role of Safety Nets Harold Alderman and Ruslan Yemtsov

Background Paper for the World Bank 2012–2022 Social Protection and Labor Strategy

About this series... Social Protection & Labor Discussion Papers are published to communicate the results of The World Bank’s work to the development community with the least possible delay. The typescript manuscript of this paper therefore has not been prepared in accordance with the procedures appropriate to formally edited texts. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed herein are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank and its affiliated organizations, or those of the Executive Directors of The World Bank or the governments they represent. The World Bank does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this work. The author(s) attest(s) that the paper represents original work. It fully references and describes all relevant prior work on the same subject. For more information, please contact the Social Protection Advisory Service, The World Bank, 1818 H Street, N.W., Room G7-803, Washington, DC 20433 USA. Telephone: (202) 458-5267, Fax: (202) 614-0471, E-mail: [email protected] or visit us on-line at Printed on recycled paper

March 2012

            Productive Role of Social Protection  Background Paper for the World Bank 2012–2022 Social Protection and Labor Strategy 

Harold Alderman and Ruslan Yemtsov  March 2012 

Abstract  The  paper  contains  a  framework  for  linking  social  protection  with  growth  and  productivity,  an  updated review of  the literature,  new original work filling in gaps in the available evidence, and a  discussion  of  operational  implications.    The  paper  demonstrates  that  there  was  a  shift  in  the  economists’ view on social protection, and now they are seen  as a force that can make  a positive  contribution towards economic growth AND reduce poverty. The paper looks at pathways in which  social  protection  programs  (social  insurance  and  social  assistance  programs,  as  well  as  labor  programs) can support better growth outcomes: (i) individual level (building and protecting  human  capital,  and  other  productive  assets,  empowering  poor  individuals  to  invest  or  to  adopt  higher  return  strategies),  (ii)  local  economy  effects  (enhancing  community  assets  and  infrastructure,  positive  spillovers  from  beneficiaries  to  non‐