Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, World Bank
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Education, Health, Nutrition, Labor, Poverty, Risk
Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, World Bank
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Last updated September 15, 2023
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Now showing 1 - 8 of 8
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-06) Raju, Dhushyanth ; Younger, Stephen D.Eswatini has notably high levels of poverty and inequality. Recurrent, negative shocks are an important contributing factor. This study assesses the performance of the largest social assistance programs in Eswatini, based on 2016/17 national household survey data. It examines the coverage rates of these programs, and their incidence and effectiveness in reducing poverty and inequality. The study also examines the association between program participation and negative shocks reported by households, in particular, drought and food price shocks associated with the 2015-2016 El Niño event. Across programs, benefits are concentrated among poor households. However, the performance of programs in reducing poverty and inequality tends to be limited because of low intended or actual benefit levels and shortfalls in intended or actual coverage of the poor. Households that receive program benefits are more likely to report a drought shock. Except in the case of emergency food aid, which is provided ex post, we interpret this pattern to indicate that programs tend to provide ex-ante coverage to those vulnerable to this shock. At a minimum, enhancing the performance of programs in addressing poverty, inequality, and the adverse effects of shocks would require that actual benefit levels equal intended levels (for example, by procuring sufficient food commodities to meet the needs of the school feeding program) and that intended benefit levels are fully aligned with program aims (for example, by providing grant amounts to schools that are large enough to allow for tuition-free government secondary education for orphaned and vulnerable children). Absent greater budgetary allocations to programs, addressing these benefit-related disconnects may require improving the targeting of select program benefits to poorer households such as by using a proxy means test. We simulate the effects of programs on poverty and inequality reduction from such hypothetical reforms.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-04-13) Zeufack, Albert G. ; Calderon, Cesar ; Kabundi, Alain ; Kubota, Megumi ; Korman, Vijdan ; Raju, Dhushyanth ; Abreha, Kaleb Girma ; Kassa, Woubet ; Owusu, SolomonSub-Saharan Africa's recovery from the pandemic is expected to decelerate in 2022 amid a slowdown in global economic activity, continued supply constraints, outbreaks of new coronavirus variants, climatic shocks, high inflation, and rising financial risks due to high and increasingly vulnerable debt levels. The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the already existing tensions and vulnerabilities affecting the continent. Given the sources of growth in the region and the nature of the economic linkages with Russia and Ukraine, the war in Ukraine might have a marginal impact on economic growth and on overall poverty—as this shock affects mostly the urban poor and vulnerable people living just above the poverty line. However, its largest impact is on the increasing likelihood of civil strife as a result of food- and energy-fueled inflation amid an environment of heightened political instability. The looming threats of stagflation require a two-pronged strategy that combines short-term measures to contain inflationary pressures and medium-to-long-term policies that accelerate the structural transformation and create more and better jobs. In response to supply shocks, monetary policy in the region may prove ineffective to bring down inflation and other short-run options may be restricted by the lack of fiscal space. Concessional financing might be key to helping countries alleviate the impact of food and fuel inflation. Over the medium term, avoiding stagflation may require a combination of actionable measures that improve the resilience of the economy by shoring up productivity and job creation. Lastly, ongoing actions to enhance social protection—including dynamic delivery systems for rapid scalability and shock-sensitive financing—could be strengthened further to improve economic resilience against shocks and foster investments in productive assets.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-01) Boko, Joachim ; Raju, Dhushyanth ; Younger, Stephen D.This paper assesses the performance of government spending on social protection programs in reducing poverty and inequality in Lesotho, applying benefit incidence and microsimulation methods to 2017-2018 household survey data. The paper investigates the distributional effects of actual spending on social protection programs as well as those of a hypothetical alternative in which the spending is targeted through a proxy means test (PMT) formula used by the government for some programs. In addition, the paper explores the responsiveness of social protection programs to adverse shocks commonly reported by households in Lesotho, where recent natural shocks have had substantial economic effects.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2018-06-22) Raju, Dhushyanth ; Rajbhandary, Jasmine ; Raju, Dhushyanth ; Rajbhandary, JasminePromoting the smooth labor market integration and early labor market success of workers has increasingly become an important economic and social development aim globally. The Nepal government sees addressing the social and economic challenges of youth, and leveraging their social and economic prospects, as critical for the country’s economic growth and development. There has been limited systematic, policy-oriented empirical research conducted on labor and livelihoods in Nepal. Dedicated examinations of the labor conditions, behaviors, and outcomes of youth are rarer still. Responding to the knowledge needs expressed by the Nepal government and other stakeholders in the country, this book aims to improve our understanding of the labor market conditions, behaviors, and outcomes of Nepalese youth. It examines these aspects in Nepal’s domestic labor market as well as in relation to labor migration to India and other countries, including temporary 'foreign employment' of Nepalese workers under bilateral labor agreements between destination countries and Nepal. In so doing, the report seeks to present insights and implications for research and public policy, with the goal of improving the labor market prospects of Nepalese youth. The collective findings in the report point to three directions for orienting public policy and program initiatives. First is raising rural labor productivity, urban labor demand, and urban worker–job matching efficiency. Second is supporting the labor market integration of rural youth migrating to urban parts of Nepal and of youth labor migrants returning from India and other countries. Third is improving the orientation and efficacy of labor skill training.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-11) Torlesse, Harriet ; Raju, DhushyanthPoor breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices predict child stunting and wasting in South Asia, suggesting that initiatives to end undernutrition in the region should focus on improving the diets of young children. This review of the literature finds that South Asia has made relatively good progress in improving breastfeeding practices compared with other regions, but the lack of diversity in complementary foods and low frequency of feeding continue to be problems. Children who are most at risk of experiencing poor feeding include those who are born small, have younger mothers, and live in poorer households or in communities with less access to, or lower uptake of, primary health services. Initiatives to improve feeding practices have not produced substantial improvement, particularly in complementary feeding, because such efforts have lacked the coverage, intensity, comprehensiveness, and continuity needed. Policy, legal, and program actions to protect, promote, and support recommended feeding practices should be informed by situation analyses and formative research on context-specific drivers of poor practices. The actions should involve multiple sectors and stakeholders, including governments, the private sector, communities, and households.
Effects over the Life of a Program: Evidence from an Education Conditional Cash Transfer Program for Girls(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-12) Chhabra, Esha ; Najeeb, Fatima ; Raju, DhushyanthWhile most evaluations of education programs in developing countries examine effects one or two years after a program has been introduced, this study does so over an extended duration of a program. Administered in Punjab, Pakistan, the program offers cash benefits to households conditional on girls' regular attendance in secondary grades in government schools. The study evaluates the evolution of the program's effects on girls' secondary school enrollment numbers over roughly a decade of its existence. The program was targeted to districts with low adult literacy rates, a targeting mechanism that provides an observed, numerical program assignment variable and results in a cutoff value. Recent advances in regression discontinuity designs allow the study to appropriately fit key features of the data. The study finds that the program had positive effects on girls’ secondary school enrollment numbers throughout the period and that these effects were stable. This pattern is observed despite a loss of more than 60 percent in the real value of the cash benefit over the period. The findings are consistent with potential behavioral explanations, such as the program making girls' education salient to households or catalyzing a shift in social norms around girls' education.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-06) Raju, Dhushyanth ; Kim, Kyoung Yang ; Nguyen, Quynh T. ; Govindaraj, RameshThis study uses novel household survey data that are representative of Bangladesh's large cities, and of slum and nonslum areas within the cities, to investigate the effects of demographic and socioeconomic factors on early child growth in 2013. The study also decomposes the difference in mean child growth between slum and nonslum areas in 2013, and the increase in mean child growth in slum and nonslum areas from 2006 to 2013. Mother's education attainment and household wealth largely explain the cross-sectional difference and intertemporal change in child growth. Although positive in some cases, the effects of maternal and child health services, and potential health-protective household amenities, differ by the type of health facility, household amenity, and urban area. The results suggest that a focus on nutrition-sensitive programs for slum residents and the urban poor is appropriate.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-09-15) Raju, Dhushyanth ; Younger, Stephen D. ; Dadzie, Christabel E.Ghana administers multiple social protection programs. One of these, pensions provided by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust, has a long history, but others—the Ghana School Feeding Programme, Labor-Intensive Public Works program, Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty program, and National Health Insurance Scheme—have been introduced and expanded only over the past two decades. Social Protection Program Spending and Household Welfare in Ghana assesses the performance of the government of Ghana’s main social assistance and social insurance programs. The study discusses the programs’ main design and implementation parameters; summarizes existing evaluative and operational research; and examines the patterns and trends in program benefit spending, using government administrative data, and the programs’ coverage rates, incidence, and effectiveness for reducing poverty and inequality, using recent national household sample survey data. Furthermore, the study examines the relationship between household participation in social assistance programs and exposure to adverse covariate shocks—specifically, possible weather-related shocks—on the basis of high-resolution climate risk maps for the country.