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

Now showing 1 - 8 of 8
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For Protection and Promotion : The Design and Implementation of Effective Safety Nets

2008, Grosh, Margaret, del Ninno, Carlo

All countries fund safety net programs for the protection of their people. Though an increasing number of safety net programs are extremely well thought out, adroitly implemented, and demonstrably effective, many others are not. This book aims to assist those concerned with social policy to understand why countries need social assistance, what kind of safety programs will serve those best and how to develop such programs for maximum effectiveness. Safety nets are part of a broader poverty reduction strategy interacting with and working alongside of social insurance; health, education, and financial services; the provision of utilities and roads; and other policies aimed at reducing poverty and managing risk. Though useful, safety nets are not a panacea, and there are real concerns over whether they are affordable and administratively feasible or desirable in light of the various negative incentives they might create. In most settings where there is political will to do so, such concerns can be managed through a number of prudent design and implementation features. Much information and innovation exist on these topics; this book summarizes, references, and builds on this knowledge base to promote well-crafted safety nets and safety net policy.

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Income Support for the Poorest : A Review of Experience in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

2014-06-26, Tesliuc, Emil, Pop, Lucian, Grosh, Margaret, Yemtsov, Ruslan

Most 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.

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Social Assistance and Labor Market Programs in Latin America : Methodology and Key Findings from the Social Protection Database

2014-06, Cerutti, Paula, Fruttero, Anna, Grosh, Margaret, Kostenbaum, Silvana, Oliveri, Maria Laura, Rodriguez-Alas, Claudia, Strokova, Victoria

How much do countries spend on social protection? Do social protection programs cover all poor people? And, how well are they targeted? It is notoriously hard to find comprehensive cross-country data on social protection programs which can help answer such questions and allow to benchmark social protection systems. The World Bank s Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) Social Protection Database attempts to fill these knowledge gaps by collecting and systematizing data on social protection programs from both administrative sources and household surveys. The data assembled provides a powerful tool to study trends and analyze program performance as well as benchmark countries social protection systems. We found both expected and unexpected trends in spending on social protection and coverage of social protection programs across countries. Between 2000 and 2010 expenditure on social assistance nearly tripled. At a program level, conditional cash transfer programs ceased to dominate social assistance spending, with the exception of Mexico, and have come second to social pension spending in Brazil, Uruguay and Chile. Labor market programs remain small and fragmented, but show much more counter-cyclical patterns.

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Rethinking School Feeding Social Safety Nets, Child Development, and the Education Sector

2009, Bundy, Donald, Grosh, Margaret, Jukes, Matthew, Drake, Lesley

This 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.

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Designing Household Survey Questionnaires for Developing Countries : Lessons from 15 Years of the Living Standards Measurement Study, Volume 2

2000-05, Grosh, Margaret, Grosh, Margaret, Glewwe, Paul

The 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.

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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.

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Assessing Safety Net Readiness in Response to Food Price Volatility

2011-09, Grosh, Margaret, Quintana, Rodrigo, Rodriguez-Alas, Claudia

In 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.

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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.