Social Safety Nets Primer

28 items available

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This series is intended to provide a practical resource for those engaged in the design and implementation of safety net programs around the world. Readers will find information on good practices for a variety of types of interventions, country contexts, themes and target groups, as well as current thinking on the role of social safety nets in the broader development agenda.

Items in this collection

Now showing 1 - 10 of 28
  • Publication
    Natural Disasters : What is the Role for Social Safety Nets?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-06) Clay, Edward
    The frequency of dramatic natural shocks around the world is a reminder that governments and the international community need to do more to prevent and mitigate the human misery and economic costs that result from such calamities. Natural disaster risk management is a multi-sectoral endeavor to mitigate disasters. Social risk management moves the focus away from the disaster to explore how the society manages hazards. In this, safety nets can play a part. Safety nets here refer to income support programs targeted to the neediest (either as a result of ongoing poverty or the effect of the disaster itself) as a preventive measure, and in the recovery and rebuilding phase; not to emergency relief which is a vital first response and a different area of expertise. Such programs can operate through different modalities - cash, kind, public workfare; be targeted more or less broadly, and be implemented by a range of actors.
  • Publication
    How to Make Public Works Work : A Review of the Experiences
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-09) del Ninno, Carlo; Milazzo, Annamaria
    Public work programs (PWPs) have been an important safety nets instrument used in diverse country circumstances at different points in time in both middle income and low income countries. Well-designed and implemented PWPs can help mitigating income shocks; the programs can also be used to reduce poverty. This paper reviews the experience with PWPs in several countries over the past 20 years to delineate use patterns and to determine the factors contributing to its use as a successful safety net program. This is done by reviewing cross-country variations in the design, implementation procedures and delivery models followed by an assessment of methods for monitoring and evaluation specific to public works.
  • Publication
    Social Safety Nets in World Bank Lending and Analytical Work : FY2002–2007
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-01) Andrews, Colin
    During FY 2002-2007 the World Bank engaged with 118 countries on social safety net (SSN) issues, providing lending in 68, analytic products in 86, training in 87, and a combined package of all three services in 42. A review of these safety net activities shows a strong diversity with respect to the regions, types of intervention, sectors and financing instruments. This reflects evolving thought within the Bank with respect to the role of safety nets in broad development strategies, not just immediate or temporary programs. The findings of the portfolio review take into account all project and analytic documents where a thematic code of 'social safety nets' was assigned. The analysis shows a noticeable variability over time, particularly as the portfolio expanded when large or multiple countries faced economic crises. The regional distribution of safety net activities reflects the dominance of Latin America, with emerging activities in the African and South Asian context.
  • Publication
    Levels and Patterns of Safety Net Spending in Developing and Transition Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-01) Andrews, Colin
    This paper offers a new set of data compiled from individual World Bank country reports and covering 87 developing and transition countries during 1996-2006. The findings show that mean spending on safety nets is 1.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and median spending is 1.4 percent of GDP across developing and transition countries. For about half of these countries, spending falls between 1 and 2 percent of GDP. Some variation is apparent. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, for example, spend considerably less than 1 percent of GDP, while spending on social safety nets in Ethiopia and Malawi is nearly 4.5 percent of GDP because international aid is counted, but would be more like 0.5 percent if only domestically financed spending were counted. Other high-spending countries, Mauritius, South Africa, and the Slovak Republic, finance their safety nets domestically. Spending on safety nets is less variable than spending on social protection or the social sectors.
  • Publication
    High Labour Intensive (HIMO) Public Works in Madagascar : Issues and Policy Options
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-12) Milazzo, Anna Maria
    High labor intensive (HIMO) public work programs have been very popular in recent years in Madagascar. They have been one of the most common safety net program used to address poverty and vulnerability. The objective of these programs has been to provide income support to the poor in critical times, e.g. after natural disasters, or to respond to seasonal shortfalls in employment during the agricultural slack period (soudure), and to improve much needed local infrastructures. The Government has recently increased its commitment to assisting poor households to prevent, mitigate and cope with the consequences of these shocks. The poverty reduction strategy paper, presented by the Government in 2003, calls for a national strategy for social protection to address risks and vulnerabilities as a central challenge to reduce poverty and improve human capital in Madagascar. To supplement effective implementation of policies in the area of social protection, the Government developed a National Risk Management and Social Protection Strategy (NRMSPS) in 2007.
  • Publication
    Management Information Systems in Social Safety Net Programs : A Look at Accountability and Control Mechanisms
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-01) Andrews, Colin
    The paper aims to provide practitioners working on Social Safety Net (SSN) projects with practical ways to use information management practices to mitigate accountability and control risks. The paper outlines a Management Information System (MIS) framework for SSN projects, as well as identifying risk mitigation strategies to be considered in MIS design and evaluation. The analysis draws on several Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs in Latin America that incorporate industry standards and information management practices for both automated and paper-based projects.
  • Publication
    Reducing Error, Fraud and Corruption (EFC) in Social Protection Programs
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-01) Tesliuc, Emil Daniel; Milazzo, Annamaria
    Social Protection (SP) and Social Safety Net (SSN) programs channel a large amount of public resources, it is important to make sure that these reach the intended beneficiaries. Error, fraud, or corruption (EFC) reduces the economic efficiency of these interventions by decreasing the amount of money that goes to the intended beneficiaries, and erodes the political support for the program. While no program is immune to EFC, evidence from developed countries demonstrates that such leakage can be brought to negligible levels. In five Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries (UK, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and USA) this fraction is between 2-5 percent for the SP sector as a whole. For SSN programs, which use more complex eligibility criteria and hence are more prone to EFC, this fraction is 10 percent. To achieve these results, programs have implemented a number of measures reviewed in this note. In contrast, efforts to combat or even measure EFC are quite rare in developing countries, although some programs are plagued by it.
  • Publication
    Social Safety Nets in OECD Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-01) Tesliuc, Emil
    The focus of the note is on non-contributory social programs for low-income households, or other vulnerable groups in OECD countries. These programs, typically referred to as social safety net (SSN) programs in developing countries, are labeled welfare programs in the US and social assistance programs in the European Union. This note covers 28 countries belonging to the OECD, and refers to an in depth review of SSN programs in the US and nine European Union countries prepared for a course on "Social Safety Nets in OECD Countries." The accompanying course materials have been developed by a team from the Urban Institute (for the US) and the University of Maastricht (for nine European Union countries). The material on US welfare policies also draws on Lindert (2005), and the review of reforms in OECD countries from Abt (2003).
  • Publication
    Reaching out to Africa’s Orphans A Framework for Public Action
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005-01) World Bank
    Conflicts and the HIV-AIDS pandemic are generating a major humanitarian crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa: the number of children who have lost one or both parents is expected to rise to 35 million by 2010. Even prior to the death of parents, children are vulnerable as prolonged sickness of a parent robs them of their childhood, often forcing them to become breadwinners. The risk of orphanhood is no longer a random shock affecting a few families; it is a systemic shock affecting whole communities and large segments of the population.
  • Publication
    Disability and Social Safety Nets in Developing Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005-01) Mitra, Sophie
    The two-way relationship between poverty and disability fosters: disability increases the risk of poverty and the conditions of poverty increase the risk of disability, yet little attention has been given as to whether social safety nets reach persons with disabilities. Social safety nets have a role to play with regard to disability in terms of poverty alleviation, poverty reduction, and development and prevention. The note addresses the way to reach persons with disabilities - to target safety nets based on disability. This approach would benefit persons with such severe disabilities that they cannot participate in the opportunities generated by growth, inclusive employment and/or education policies. These programs might take a number of forms such as: social insurance schemes, publicly funded transfers (sometimes provided as part of a family allowance), in-kind targeting (assistance devices for example) or livelihood programs. However, a more feasible solution may be to ensure that mainstream social safety nets are "disability inclusive". How can mainstream social safety nets be designed, implemented, and evaluated so that persons with disabilities are not excluded? The note describes this process: identification of the physical, social, and communication barriers that prevent the inclusion of persons with disabilities is critical. For instance, do the attitudes of social safety net staff prevent or discourage access to benefits for persons with disabilities?