Person:
Grosh, Margaret

Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice
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Social safety nets, Poverty analysis, Labor markets, Social protection
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Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice
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Last updated: January 31, 2023
Biography
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

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Conditional Cash Transfers : Reducing Present and Future Poverty

2009, Fiszbein, Ariel, Ferreira, Francisco H.G., Grosh, Margaret, Olinto, Pedro, Skoufias, Emmanuel

The 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.

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Targeting Methods for Transfers

2003-01, Grosh, Margaret, Hoddinott, John

Of 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.