A paper by Sviatschi shows that in Peru, growing up in coca producing areas and experiencing high coca prices during childhood (11-14 years of age) increased the likelihood of being incarcerated as adults by 30%. In fact, children are sometimes put on a criminal life path from early in life. This is because “… location-specific factors affect parental incentives to use child labor and thus “create” criminality”. However, coca areas that implemented conditional cash transfers altered those household incentives. In particular, CCTs reduced child labor and this, in turn, decreased coca production in select areas by 34%. As a recommendation, the paper argues that “… a future CCT program aimed at decreasing child participation in the coca industry would be more efficient if it were to focus on ages 11 to 14” (h/t Mattias Lundberg).
What are the effects of social protection on gender? A review of 70 systematic reviews, including 3289 studies from 121countries, is as close as it gets to a definitive answer. In their fantastic study, Perera et al document (a) a higher impact of social protection on women and girls than on men and boys; (b) that family support is a key barrier in program participation; (c) having explicit gender objectives lead to higher effects than setting broad goals; (d) there are no negative impacts per se, but there are adverse and unintended effects due to design and implementation features; and (e) social protection measures need to be connected with other sectoral interventions. Btw I loved their conceptual framework on p.7, and the way key summary effects were captured in handy boxes for health and education (p.22), mental health and psychosocial wellbeing (p.23), voice and agency (p.24), and safety and violence (p.25).
That’s not all! UNICEF just released a rapid review of gender-sensitivity of “cash plus” programs in Tanzania, Nepal, Turkey, Nigeria, and Ethiopia (see box 1, p.13-14 for a nice summary of each, and p.32 for a comparative overview of design). Penned by Holmes et al, the report documents a range of positive effects, but also underscores that “… there is insufficient evidence currently available (…) on which types or combinations of “plus” interventions work best [for gender outcomes]”. And hey, I really liked the “idea boxes” on particular issues, e.g., see those featured on p.25-30.
Moving to resilience, article by Otchere and Handa shows that in Malawi, an unconditional cash transfer increased the four-dimensional RIMA resilience index by 12 points, or a 30% increase relative to baseline mean index value. Bonus: check out IFPRI’s poster on district-level poverty in Malawi.
Let’s stay in the continent: a brief by Bhorat et al shows that because of low survey response rates, South African labor market statistics are estimated with less precision – for instance, “… the national unemployment rate could legitimately be anywhere between 31.4 to 36.7 across the last four quarters of 2021”. Bonus on jobs: in the UK, Gimenez-Nadal and Sevilla found an increase in the work effort of workers over the past four decades, including as measured by a decrease in both the amount and the frequency of on-the-job leisure.
A couple of macro and meso perspectives! In Malaysia, Sanghi et al argue that social protection measures without broader sectoral reforms are not fiscally sustainable (h/t Nithin Umapathi); and a note by Cronemberger Mendes explores fiscal transfers and fiscal capacity at state and province level in Australia, Brazil, and Canada.
Final fireworks: Anyadike offers a country-by-country guide to worsening drought in the Horn of Africa; a great Welfare State & Inequality seminar series is upcoming at NTNU (h/t Charles Knox-Vydmanov); a podcast with Lwanga-Ntale, Schwarzer, and Manuel discusses a global fund for social protection; and an opportunity to work on social protection in Fiji’s Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation (h/t Sandor Karacsony).
Ugo Gentilini is from the World Bank’s Social Protection & Jobs global practice. The Social Protection Links newsletter, issued every Friday, distills and discusses a selection of curated resources on the topic, from academic articles to podcasts. The blog is republished on socialprotection.org each week, offering knowledge on social protection to help you stay on top of it — succinctly, regularly and frequently. Previous editions can be found here.