Working Paper

Social Protection For The Poor: Lessons From Recent International Experience

Published on 1 January 2002

Governments and donor agencies increasingly recognise the need to provide protection for the poor against income fluctuations or livelihood shocks. In this context, ‘social protection’ is an umbrella term covering a range of interventions, from formal social security systems to ad hoc emergency interventions to project food aid (e.g. school feeding, public works).

This paper synthesises current thinking and evidence on a number of issues around the design and impact of social protection programmes, including: the case for and against targeting resource transfers; alternative approaches to targeting; what form resource transfers should take (cash, food, agricultural inputs); the ‘crowding out’ debate; cost-efficiency of transfer programmes; whether these programmes meet the real and articulated needs of their ‘beneficiaries’; impacts on poverty and vulnerability, and fiscal and political sustainability.


Image of Stephen Devereux

Stephen Devereux

Research Fellow

Publication details

published by
Devereux, S.
IDS Working Paper, issue 142
1 85864 394 5


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