Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice
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Fields of Specialization
Social safety nets, Poverty analysis, Labor markets, Social protection
Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Margaret Grosh is the Senior Advisor for the World Bank’s Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice. She has written, lectured, and advised extensively on social protection programs, especially on targeting and cash transfer programs, globally and for Latin America. She has extensive experience with social protection both for responding to a crisis and for improving equality of opportunity. Earlier, she served as Lead Economist in the Latin American and Caribbean Region’s Human Development Department, led the team for Social Assistance in the World Bank’s Global Social Protection Department and, before that, the Living Standard Measurement Study in the Research Department. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 13
Designing Household Survey Questionnaires for Developing Countries : Lessons from 15 Years of the Living Standards Measurement Study, Volume 3(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2000-05) Grosh, Margaret ; Glewwe, Paul ; Grosh, Margaret ; Glewwe, PaulThe objective of this book is to provide detailed advice on how to design multi-topic household surveys based on the experience of past household surveys. The book will help identify define objectives, identify data needed to analyze objectives, and draft questionnaires to collect such data. Much of the book is based on the experience of the World Bank's Living Standard's Measurement Study (LSMS) program, established in 1980 to explore ways the accuracy, timeliness, and policy relevance of household survey data collected in developing countries. It is part of an attempt to extend the range of policy issues that can be analyzed with LSMS data; to increase the reliability and accuracy of the surveys; and to make it easier to implement LSMS surveys. The books first discuss the "big picture" concerning the overall design of surveys, modules to be used, and procedures for combining modules into questionnaires and questionnaires into surveys. Individual modules are discussed in depth as well as major policy issues. The process of manipulating modules to form a better 'fit' in the case of a specific survey is examined. Specific modules include: consumption, education, health employment, anthropometry, non-labor income, housing, price data, environmental issues, fertility, household income, savings, household enterprises, and time use. The third volume provides draft questionnaires, referenced in the prior chapters.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2004) Coady, David ; Grosh, Margaret ; Hoddinott, JohnDrawing on a database of more than one hundred anti-poverty interventions in 47 countries, this report provides a general review of experiences with methods used to target interventions in transition and developing countries. Written for policymakers and program managers in developing countries, in donor agencies, and in nongovernmental organizations who have responsibility for designing interventions that reach the poor, it conveys what targeting options are available, what results can be expected as well as information that will assist in choosing among them and in their implementation. Key messages are: 1) While targeting "works" - the median program transfers 25 percent more to the poor than would a universal allocation - targeting performance around the world is highly variable. 2) Means testing, geographic targeting, and self-selection based on a work requirement are the most robustly progressive methods. Proxy means testing, community-based selection of individuals and demographic targeting to children show good results on average, but with considerable variation. Demographic targeting to the elderly, community bidding, and self-selection based on consumption show limited potential for good targeting. 3) There is no single preferred method for all types of programs or all country contexts. Successful targeting depends critically on how a method is implemented.
Publication(World Bank, 2009) Bundy, Donald ; Burbano, Carmen ; Grosh, Margaret ; Gelli, Aulo ; Jukes, Matthew ; Drake, LesleyThis review highlights three main findings. First, school feeding programs in low-income countries exhibit large variation in cost, with concomitant opportunities for cost containment. Second, as countries get richer, school feeding costs become a much smaller proportion of the investment in education. For example, in Zambia the cost of school feeding is about 50 percent of annual per capita costs for primary education; in Ireland it is only 10 percent. Further analysis is required to define these relationships, but supporting countries to maintain an investment in school feeding through this transition may emerge as a key role for development partners. Third, the main preconditions for the transition to sustainable national programs are mainstreaming school feeding in national policies and plans, especially education sector plans; identifying national sources of financing; and expanding national implementation capacity. Mainstreaming a development policy for school feeding into national education sector plans offers the added advantage of aligning support for school feeding with the processes already established to harmonize development partner support for the education for all-fast track initiative.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2009) Fiszbein, Ariel ; Schady, Norbert ; Ferreira, Francisco H.G. ; Grosh, Margaret ; Keleher, Niall ; Olinto, Pedro ; Skoufias, EmmanuelThe report shows that there is good evidence that conditional cash transfers (CCTs) have improved the lives of poor people. Transfers generally have been well targeted to poor households, have raised consumption levels, and have reduced poverty, by a substantial amount in some countries. Offsetting adjustments that could have blunted the impact of transfers, such as reductions in the labor market participation of beneficiaries, have been relatively modest. Moreover, CCT programs often have provided an entry point to reforming badly targeted subsidies and upgrading the quality of safety nets. The report thus argues that CCTs have been an effective way to redistribute income to the poor, while recognizing that even the best-designed and best-managed program cannot fulfill all of the needs of a comprehensive social protection system. CCTs therefore need to be complemented with other interventions, such as workfare or employment programs and social pensions. The report also considers the rationale for conditioning the transfers on the use of specific health and education services by program beneficiaries. Conditions can be justified if households are under investing in the human capital of their children, for example, if they hold incorrect beliefs about the returns to these investments; if there is "incomplete altruism" between parents and their children; or if there are large externalities to investments in health and education. Political economy considerations also may favor conditional over unconditional transfers: taxpayers may be more likely to support transfers to the poor if they are linked to efforts to overcome poverty in the long term, particularly when the efforts involve actions to improve the welfare of children.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-03-31) Grosh, Margaret ; Leite, Phillippe ; Wai-Poi, Matthew ; Tesliuc, EmilTargeting is a commonly used, but much debated, policy within global social assistance practice. This book examines the well- known dilemmas in light of the growing body of experience, new implementation capacities, and the potential to bring new data and data science to bear. Chapter 1 presents a series of essays on the factors that shape choices around why or whether or how narrowly/broadly to target different parts of social assistance. Chapter 2 updates the global empirics around the outcomes and costs of focusing benefits on the poor or vulnerable. Chapter 3 illustrates the options and choices that must be made in moving from an abstract vision of focusing resources on the poor or vulnerable to more specific concepts and implementable definitions and procedures, and how the many choices should be informed by values, empirics and context. Chapter 4 provides a brief treatment of delivery systems and processes showing their importance to distributional outcomes and suggesting the many facets with room for improvement. Chapter 5 discusses the choice between targeting methods, how differences in purposes and contexts shape those. Chapter 6 summarizes and comprehensively updates the know-how with respect to the data and inference used by the different household-specific targeting methods. Chapter 7 contains a primer on measurement issues, going much deeper than usual and explaining how better measurement can lead to clearer understanding of targeting issues. Chapter 8 explores machine learning algorithms for household-specific mechanisms for eligibility determination.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-09) Grosh, Margaret ; Andrews, Colin ; Quintana, Rodrigo ; Rodriguez-Alas, ClaudiaIn 2008, when food prices rose precipitously to record highs, international attention and local policy in many countries focused on safety nets as part of the response. Now that food prices are high again, the issue of appropriate responses is again on the policy agenda. This note sets out a framework for making quick, qualitative assessments of how well countries' safety nets prepare them for a rapid policy response to rising food prices should the situation warrant. The framework is applied using data from spring 2011, presenting a snap?shot analysis of what is a dynamically changing situation. Based on this data safety net readiness is assessed in 13 vulnerable countries based on the following criteria: the presence of safety net programs, program coverage, administrative capacity, and to a lesser degree, targeting effectiveness. It is argued that these criteria will remain the same throughout time, even if the sample countries affected will be expected to vary. Based on this analysis the note highlights that though a number of countries are more prepared than they were in 2008, there is still a significant medium term agenda on safety net preparedness in the face of crisis. In this context, strategic lessons from the 2008 food crisis response are presented to better understand the response options and challenges facing governments and policy makers. The note concludes by calling for continued investment and scale up of safety nets to mitigate poverty impacts and help prevent long term setbacks in nutrition and poverty.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2014-06-18) Grosh, Margaret ; Bussolo, Maurizio ; Freije, Samuel ; Grosh, Margaret ; Bussolo, Maurizio ; Freije, SamuelAny time there is an economic crisis; there is the very real potential that its consequences for human welfare will be severe. Thus when the developed world plunged into such a crisis in 2008 and growth rates in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) began to plummet, fears rose that the region will suffer rising unemployment, poverty, malnutrition, and infant mortality, among other things. This study confirms and quantifies many of the sobering links between crisis and poverty, but it also shows how powerful good policy in stable times is in attenuating those links. It thus underscores the need for sound growth policies, good macro prudential care, fiscal balance, low debt, reasonably flexible exchange rates, and the like to help prevent and manage crises. It equally shows how effective social protection responses built on adequate existing programs can be. This study documents the effects of the 2008-09 global financial crisis on poverty in 12 countries in the LAC region, and it comes away with six big picture messages, each with much nuance and many caveats that are explained briefly in this overview.
Designing Household Survey Questionnaires for Developing Countries : Lessons from 15 Years of the Living Standards Measurement Study, Volume 2(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2000-05) Grosh, Margaret ; Glewwe, Paul ; Grosh, Margaret ; Glewwe, PaulThe objective of this book is to provide detailed advice on how to design multi-topic household surveys based on the experience of past household surveys. The book will help identify define objectives, identify data needed to analyze objectives, and draft questionnaires to collect such data. Much of the book is based on the experience of the World Bank's Living Standard's Measurement Study (LSMS) program, established in 1980 to explore ways the accuracy, timeliness, and policy relevance of household survey data collected in developing countries. It is part of an attempt to extend the range of policy issues that can be analyzed with LSMS data; to increase the reliability and accuracy of the surveys; and to make it easier to implement LSMS surveys. The books first discuss the "big picture" concerning the overall design of surveys, modules to be used, and procedures for combining modules into questionnaires and questionnaires into surveys. Individual modules are discussed in depth as well as major policy issues. The process of manipulating modules to form a better 'fit' in the case of a specific survey is examined. Specific modules include: consumption, education, health employment, anthropometry, non-labor income, housing, price data, environmental issues, fertility, household income, savings, household enterprises, and time use. The third volume provides draft questionnaires, referenced in the prior chapters.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2003-01) Grosh, Margaret ; Coady, David ; Hoddinott, JohnOf the commonly used methods for directing transfers to the poor, there is little consensus about which is best. Policymakers need to know how effective different targeting mechanisms are, how the effectiveness differs by method and type of program, and the implications. Targeting success can be partially captured by one outcome indicator, the share of benefits going to the bottom 40 per cent of the population. For example, if a program delivers 60 per cent of its benefits to this group, the outcome indicator is (60 divided by 40 =) 1.5. The higher the indicator - i.e., the greater the percentage of benefits going to the poor relative to their population share - the more progressive is the targeting. The authors calculate their indicator for 85 of the programs in the database. The full study provides information on the use of targeting techniques, summary statistics on comparative program performance, and regression analysis to examine the correlations between methods and outcomes. The study drew broad conclusions, subject to the limitations described beforehand, suggesting that "Targeting can work, but it doesn't always. There is no clearly preferred method for all types of programs, or all country contexts. A weak ranking of outcomes achieved by different mechanisms was possible. And, implementation matters tremendously to outcomes". Targeting performance improved with country income levels, the extent to which governments are held accountable for their actions, and the degree of inequality.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2014-06-26) Tesliuc, Emil ; Pop, Lucian ; Grosh, Margaret ; Yemtsov, RuslanMost countries in the world aspire to protect poorest and most vulnerable families from destitution and thus provide some type of income support to those who are very poor. These programs are often layered into social policy along with other transfers, subsidies, or services. The way to best provide such last-resort income support (LRIS) and its role in wider social policy is a matter of some complexity, much experimentation, and much study. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 28 of 30 countries operate LRIS programs. This study examines the experience of LRIS programs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It documents the outcomes of such programs throughout the region in terms of expenditure, coverage, targeting, and simulated effects on poverty and inequality. For a subset of countries, the study documents and draws lessons from the design and implementation arrangements - institutional frameworks and administrative structures, eligibility determination, benefits and conditions, governance mechanisms, and administrative costs on the basis of information gleaned during in-depth country engagements that have extended a decade or more (Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, the Kyrgyz Republic, Lithuania, and Romania) and other detailed work available from newer or more specific engagements (Croatia, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan). The report is organized as follows: chapter one gives introduction. Chapter two provides an overview of the role of LRIS in the wider social assistance policies of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Chapter three looks into the institutional and financing arrangements of the LRIS programs in the case study countries. Chapter four covers one of the two most charged issues in narrowly targeted LRIS programs - how eligibility is determined. Chapter five takes up the other charged issue in these programs - the benefit formula and how labor disincentives can be held in check with the guaranteed minimum income design. Chapter six focuses on two key elements of control and accountability systems in LRIS programs - modern management information systems and strategies to reduce error, fraud, and corruption. Chapter seven examines the administrative costs of the LRIS programs in the case study countries. Chapter eight highlights and summarizes the lessons.