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The purpose of the paper is to present the current picture of poverty and social isolation in Albania. The authors explore the relation between these two key social security phenomena. Based on that, they develop original policy propositions on how the poverty problem can be resolved through active measures against social isolation. The main suggestion is that greater efforts should be exerted in the field of social assistance, which could have a strong effect on the prevention and the reduction of poverty as it presents a main hinderance to sustainable economic growth in the country.
The findings are:
The general conclusion as a response to the study results is that the propositions made in the evaluation analysis could be incorporated into a new model targeting social assistance to households in need.
Recommendations for breaking poverty cycles include universalising basic education for at least 10 years and improving educational quality and enhancing young people’s labour market opportunities. However, focusing on these three areas alone will not be effective because some of the potential solutions to the health and education crisis lie in other areas.
Vulnerability to poverty comes from many sources, and a slim asset base can easily be eroded in order to withstand a family illness, a local flood, indebtedness, extortion, widowhood, and other shocks. Social protection, especially cash transfers, are important for the very poor because they can prevent people falling into poverty, alleviate devastating poverty, and have lasting effects on many aspects of poor children’s lives. They thus erode life course poverty and prevent it being inevitably passed through generations.
Further obstacles to overcome include:
Strategies for addressing these problems include:
For each impact evaluation, the database provides a quick description of the intervention under scrutiny, the evaluation design, the results of the impact evaluation, and a link to the document, if publicly available. The interface allows the user to search the database by country, region, sector and/or evaluation method. Please note that only sectors already completed will have impact evaluations in the database. [author's abstract]
The paper states that while the implementation of Foster Child Grants to orphans benefits the household members of the recipients who are able to access them, it is an inappropriate response to addressing children's socio-economic vulnerability in the context of the AIDS pandemic in South Africa.
In addition to the Foster Child Grants, an alternative that is adequate, equitable and accessible for all children needs to be instituted to alleviate child poverty. In the context of HIV/AIDS, the paper argues for the full extension of the Child Support Grant to all children up to 18 and the removal of the means test, ideally as part of a comprehensive package of social protection for South African residents.
The inappropriateness of the Foster Child Grants is made through a number of arguments:
This paper explores some the country’s provisions for protecting workers from exploitation and economic insecurity, and examines the differences between public and private sector industries in terms of labour welfare and productivity. It contends that Pakistan’s diverse range of social safety nets are characterised by leakages and corruption, and tend to have limited coverage, so that they reach only a small proportion of the intended beneficiaries.
Turning to the differences in workers’ welfare between private and public sector enterprises, the paper argues that incentives for making welfare benefits available to workers is lacking in both sectors:
Finally, the paper suggests as policy implications that:
The authors compare different types of cash transfer programmes, and generally find that:
In reviewing a number of programmes addressing child poverty in Mexico, South Africa and Chile, they suggest that:
To analyse the current pension system from the perspectives of the number of beneficiaries, the number of contributors, dependency rates, social insurance fund surpluses and reserves, the paper assumes:
On the basis of these assumptions, the article finds that the system dependency rate constantly declines. However, the paper concludes that at the moment paying pensions is difficult because of:
To provide adequate pensions to all retirees and establish reasonable link between the contributions and pensions, it is recommended to:
Quantitative data from 500 households mirror these findings by showing that, ex-ante, the social fund does not address the expressed needs of the majority of individuals in the majority of communities. By the completion of the project, however, 80 per cent of the community expresses satisfaction with the outcome. An analysis of the determinants of participation reveals that better educated and better networked individuals dominate the process. Propensity-score analysis demonstrates that JSIF has had a causal impact on improvements in trust and the capacity for collective action, but these gains are greater for elites. Some of the policy implications arising from this study are:
[adapted from author]
Employing various evaluation methodologies, the paper finds that the programme is successful in that participating children, on average, have 20 to 30 per cent higher school participation rates relative to their counterfactuals who did not participate in the programme. Participants also stay at school 0.5 of a year to 2 years longer than their counterfactuals.
Using estimated earnings functions from the Bangladesh Household Income and Expenditure survey, these combined education effects of the FFE programme would represent an increase in lifetime earnings of between 7 and 16 per cent if the participant is going to work in the rural sector, and 13 to 25 per cent if in the urban sector. The paper concludes that these increases would bring large numbers of households above the poverty line.
Further calculation suggests that the public internal rates of return of the FFE programme are more than 14 per cent per year and the private rates are more than 30 per cent. Hence it would seem that the FFE programme not only has a significant effect on school participation and schooling duration of the poor children but also is both publicly and privately an attractive investment. [adapted from author]
It identifies two distinct, important layers to the question of FFW’s efficacy:
The paper concludes that, as a general rule FFW is most effective as a means of providing short-term insurance against shocks and, when carefully planned and implemented, can help rather than hinder longer-term recovery and development efforts. Efficacy in meeting short-run insurance objectives basically hinges on the issues of targeting and timing:
Reasonably accurate targeting matters for longer-term development purposes, as well. Otherwise, FFW rations displace commercial food purchases at an unacceptably high rate, driving down local prices and depressing investment incentives for farmers and food traders. Indeed, the disincentive effects of FFW are real threats if care is not taken to counteract them through explicit promotion of agricultural intensification and production of appropriate and durable public goods such as roads, schools, and soil and water conservation structures. Well-targeted FFW needs to be applied to the production or maintenance of public goods
A common denominator in successful programmes is almost always active community participation in the identification of project priorities. Local participation and commitment is essential to overcome moral hazard and information asymmetries between target populations and external agents. Failures of past FFW efforts may largely be due to a top-down approach where the programme administrators lacked the necessary information and local commitment needed to design and implement properly targeted, high quality programmes.|FFW is one piece of the broader puzzle of insuring the poor against catastrophic loss. The heterogeneity of poor, food insecure people and the communities in which they reside necessitates a portfolio approach in which officials, donors and relief agencies on the ground can draw from a range of different instruments to respond to emerging needs. There is always danger in a ‘one size fits all’ approach, and this is no less true of food-for-work than for any other type of intervention. [adapted from author]
The results indicate that access to low-wage off-farm income is restricted by lack of employment opportunities since households otherwise would have engaged in more off-farm wage employment than observed.
Main findings include:
[adapted from author]
The paper concludes that FFW projects have the potential of contributing to long term development in economies characterised by imperfect markets. However, poor design and implementation can easily lead to the opposite result.
Main findings include:
[adapted from authors]
[adapted from author]
Policy action to challenge chronic poverty could usefully address three thematic areas:
[adapted from author]
Findings and conclusions include:
[adapted from author]
The papers reflect on humanitarian thinking and action, both in the principles that guide and regulate the rhetoric and behaviors of donor and implementing-agency bureaucracies, and in what concepts motivate the technical interventions on the ground. In aggregate the papers addresses food, health, and care and three aspects of food security, namely, availability, access, and utilisation.
Issues which the papers individually address include:
Some of the main themes which emerged from the symposium include:
Standing Committee on Nutrition (SCN) News is a periodic review of developments in international nutrition. [adapted from author]
Based on a very detailed household panel data set, the study attempted to disentangle the effects of random events, such as good weather, from the effects of the reform programme. Another part of the worked focused on household vulnerability to consumption and nutrition fluctuations, and the implications for measuring and understanding poverty.
[adapted from author]
The thesis consists of five papers:
Main findings include:
The book argues that empirical evidence demonstrates that CTE programs effectively reduce poverty and improve educational outcomes. The programs are considered successful for several reasons:
The book asserts that CTE programs are not a panacea for poverty and should not necessarily be expanded within countries or to other counties for two reasons:
The book concludes by highlighting that any country thinking about adopting a CTE program must consider which targeting mechanism(s) to use, what benefit level and coverage to choose, and how to monitor and evaluate the programs.
The paper concludes that the Jefes program does appear to have contributed to social protection during the crisis, despite the fact that its actual implementation differed from its design.
[adapted from the author]
There are currently two main opposing arguments for and against rice import tariffs:
In light of this, the challenge of the PSIA was to add a broader economic analysis of policy options through a CGE model, and secondly to address the politics of decision making on the rice tariffs issue through a policy mapping exercise.
The main findings from this exercise include:
The paper finds that experiences have been varied:
The paper draws four key conclusions
[from the author]
The paper concludes that full risk-sharing does not appear to materialise at the village level. It recommends that policy action is needed to improve access to credit and insurance options for the poor on the basis of equity and efficiency grounds. Further research is also needed to have a better understanding of rural households in Ethiopia and the role of small networks in consumption smoothing.
The paper discusses the problem of poverty and vulnerability: who were the poor? How did the answer to this question change over the decade? It looks at the typical types of interventions offered by governments, and how this package changed over the period. It surveys the evidence on effectiveness of these programs in reaching the poor, in reducing their income poverty, or reducing other aspects of poverty (e.g. social exclusion).
The paper concludes with a confident rejection of the generally negative stereotype of this class of interventions that has been around in mainstream development policy discussions for some time. It suggests that the trade-off against efficiency has probably been exaggerated, and the record on performance is better than some (seemingly widely held) perceptions would suggest.
Why are cash transfers not used more in developing countries?:
Economic advantage to cash transfers:
Design considerations influencing the efficiency of cash transfers:
The author argues that the South African Government must be commended for attending to both indirect and direct channels in the 2003 Budget. However, the prospects are limited for economic growth over the Budget period to translate into many employment opportunities for the poor. Taken together with the inadequate coverage of the social assistance system and the extent and depth of the poverty crisis, Budget 2003 will have little impact on child poverty.
On the ‘indirect measure’ front, the treasury cannot have been expected to do much more in Budget 2003 for the poor. The key structural problem of raising the unskilled labour capacity of economic growth has largely to be addressed by other government departments.
On the ‘direct measure’ front, the treasury could perhaps have offered even more to poor children. More funds should have been allocated to the Child Support Grant (CSG) programme, through the new conditional grant introduced in the Budget, to finance a more rapid rollout of the CSG to children age 7-14. According to treasury, this was not a feasible option. Administrative constraints mean that it will presently only be possible to add two new age cohorts of children onto the system (new 0-1 year olds and 7-8 year olds).
More money could also have been allocated to provinces for the CSG programme to finance the implementation of a new means test for CSG grant eligibility. The existing means test discriminates against poor children whose care-givers do not live in households in the bottom 30% of South Africa’s income distribution and this has not been adjusted for inflation since 1998/99. Due to the administrative difficulties associated with trying to extend more income support to children through the CSG, treasury could have raised the value or the state old age pension by more than R60. This grant works as an effective mechanism for transferring money quickly to poor households.
The authors also insist that for the Treasury measures to have more impact on child poverty and rights, there is a need to focus more robust attention on what government can do to improve service delivery capacity and alleviate structural unemployment. A particularly urgent task in this regard is to ensure that the required computer hardware and other infrastructure can swiftly be put in place so that the CSG and children’s entitlement to social assistance can be rolled out more rapidly.
The paper asks two questions:
The paper further analyses food aid distribution in Ethiopia and the village-level and within village allocation rule for food aid. It presents a theoretical framework to test the impact of a safety net on households faced with income risk. An empirical model is developed and used.
The paper finds that despite relatively poor targeting of the food aid, the programs contribute to better consumption outcomes, largely via intra-village risk sharing.
The paper concludes that both countries' schemes share common faults, which include low final balances, early access to savings linked to a relatively low retirement age, lack of guaranteed income into old age (despite the minimum sum schemes), mixed messages on individual savings, nor in the case of Malaysia continuing to develop the EPF along similar lines to that of the CPF, which as this paper clearly demonstrates, does not meet basic requirements of old age income equitably for all members.
In terms of the future, the paper argues that Malaysia is in the somewhat enviable position of having time on its side. The rate at which the Malaysian population is ageing, allows for the implementation of social policy reforms, such as the introduction of a social insurance based pension, which would offer a minimum guaranteed income to those on low incomes, alongside the undoubted benefits which are available under the EPF, but would also include the sizeable proportion of the labour force who are not covered at present by any scheme. The current arrangements in Singapore and Malaysia, under the auspices of the CPF and EPF respectively, can both be described as a form of social security umbrella. However as we have seen, neither scheme is able to protect all sections of society, nor indeed all current members, from future inclement weather.
Overall, the discussion in the paper supports the conclusion that cash transfer programmes for the old do indeed have the potential to make a significant contribution to reducing poverty and vulnerability, as well as reducing the intergenerational transmission of poverty. Cash transfer programmes to the old also provide an important stimulus to economic activity, and can act as valuable insurance against risks to household consumption and investment. These programmes have the potential to make an important contribution to the development process. The experience of the countries reviewed confirms that these programmes are able to deliver in all three dimensions, and with the right design and financing features, they could constitute the embryo for more embracing social protection systems in the developing world.
It details the clusters of interlocking disadvantage of the chronically poor which make it highly unlikely that they can draw on social capital to ameliorate their poverty, or that the creation of social capital at community level has any significant effect on their wellbeing. Factors highlighted include small family size and weak family networks, lack of assets (including labour power) which constrains their ability to engage in reciprocal collective activities, poor health, inability to articulate in public fora and the derogatory perceptions of other community members towards them. The paper illustrates how some social relationships, collective action and local institutions may reproduce the exclusion of the poorest. The paper concludes by suggesting that processes of institutional formation do not necessarily result in inclusive forms of social, that the poorest people are severely limited in their scope for exercising agency and that we should be cautious about claims that it is possible to get institutions wholly right for poverty alleviation and social inclusion. [author's abstract]
This report describes the systems that are in place that are designed for the early detection of crisis, the nature of humanitarian responses these systems have induced, and the outlook for the coming year.
Recommendations arising from the research include:
The author also makes recommendations for marketing, the environment and livestock.
The time period was one of relative peace politically, which promoted considerable change in economic policies pertaining to the rural sector. As a result, local growth out-performed the average growth rate in gross domestic product. The focus of the study is the link between economic reforms, growth, and changes in poverty. The author poses the question: Can the observed reduction in poverty be explained by reform-induced higher returns to physical, and human capital, or simply by better weather?
The study uses a profit function framework to explain growth using prices, and endowments of land, labour, human capital, and location characteristics, with controls for shocks (for example, ill health and drought).
The study also highlights the effects of shocks on households, and the need for social protection measures, in a poverty reduction strategy.
This paper describes:
It offers two case studies on inclusive policy- making processes relating to the informal sector
It concludes with some principles and guidelines for facing the challenge of undertaking inclusive policy processes to develop appropriate policies for the informal economy in different contexts.
The PRSP’s contribution to reducing child poverty depends on:
The review points to a significant role for child poverty research and advocacy in the implementation, monitoring and review of the Southern African PRSP processes. Child advocacy organisations and child rights actors may play a valuable role in a variety of ways. These could include partnering with local child advocacy organisations to
These papers look at 7 low income countries with PRSPs to establish how far performance budgeting and management are used in practice, and to relate these findings to features of macroeconomic and budget management, accountability structures, and administrative structures and practices. The countries focused on are Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ghana, Mali, Tanzania and Uganda. This experience is compared with that of the OECD countries, which generally adopted performance budgeting in the 80's and 90s
The findings of the studies include:
Benefits in the planning and management of service delivery are already perceptible in the countries that have adopted performance budgeting and management most successfully. Benefits include:
The overall conclusion of the research programme is that low income countries are practicing performance budgeting and management, in some cases to useful, if unspectacular, effect. They have, with modest external support, been finding their own solutions to the problem of how to translate public expenditure into pro-poor development results. They face many challenges, and in some cases their experiments have not wholly succeeded. Nevertheless, in this highly empirical field of activity, they have been willing to learn from their own experiences and from those of others. Their initiatives will play a vital role in the successful implementation of their poverty reduction strategies. They accordingly deserve strong external interest and encouragement.
Based on this, donors should:
The reports are available as a main, synthesis report and 8 separate country studies [adapted from author]
The paper attempts to:
Findings include the following:
The paper concludes that:
This paper looks at the value-added of the ILO and its social partners in contributing to PRSPs and helping low-income countries to design and implement them. It focuses on the practical steps taken by the ILO to integrate "decent work" into the PRS. It focuses on the experience over the past two years in the five ILO special focus PRSP countries (Cambodia, Honduras, Mali, Nepal and Tanzania)
Employers’ and workers’ organizations have expressed concern and frustration that their views and potential support appear undervalued, due to perceived donor priorities (primary education and the health sector as well as broader public sector reform and improved macroeconomic management) and the local perception of the nature of trade unions and employers organisations. Key lessaons are that:
The paper analyses
The authors argue that given a somewhat improved fiscal position, the time might be ripe for expanding some existing social security programmes or for introducing some new ones as a way of improving the reach and impact of the social security system. Three options are suggested:
The paper concludes that sustained economic growth remains the necessary condition for substantial poverty reduction. However, the social security system in South Africa nevertheless provides, and should continue to provide, income security to many of the poor. For this reason, realistic but serious efforts at incrementally expanding the social security system are essential.
The authors test whether access to microfinancial savings and lending institutions helps Indonesian families smooth consumption after declines in adult health. In general, the authors find that:
The paper concludes that governments should promote microfinance and microsavings programmes in addition to traditional tools such as subsidies, mandates, or direct government provision of health insurance and disability insurance.
It aims to provide decision-makers within government, local and national civil society organisations, regional agencies and older people themselves with the following:
This paper identifies some of the implications of these changes at the micro level:
In addition, it raises the issue that social security reform affects the fiscal impact of the basic income grant by raising the overall national income and by concentrating growth on lower income individuals, it moves them to levels where their net transfer is reduced. South Africa’s social security grants are said to reduce the average poverty gap by approximately 23%, with pensioners receiving the largest proportion of the reduction in poverty (94%)
In summary, the main conclusions that emerge from this review are that: