Targeting Social Protection: How to Reach Those in Need

Social protection policies and programs help individuals and families escape poverty, manage risks, and improve resilience and opportunity. Prioritizing poorer households in social protection programs often can generate more progress on reducing poverty and inequality and improving other dimensions of welfare such as human capital. But how do social protection measures reach those most in need? How do policy makers differentiate eligibility and benefits among people, commonly known as targeting?

A new World Bank publication, “Revisiting Targeting in Social Assistance: A New Look at Old Dilemmas”, aims to refresh and update the current discussions about the benefits and costs of social protection targeting as well as pros and cons of various targeting methods. It also sheds light on the valuable role of targeted social protection interventions in helping achieve Universal Social Protection. It highlights that there is no single targeting method that fits every situation and robust social protection delivery systems remain critical to improving access to social assistance, minimizing costs and stigma, and facilitating crisis responses. The report also found that advances in technology—ICT, big data, and machine learning—can improve the accuracy in targeting, but better data is more important than greater sophistication in data use.

Margaret Grosh, Senior Advisor, World Bank
Ousseynou Diop, Director of Single National Registry, General Delegation for Social Protection and National Solidarity, Senegal 
Laura Pabón Alvarado, Director of the Social Development Direction, National Planning Department, Colombia
Rema Hanna, Jeffrey Cheah Professor of South‐East Asia Studies and Chair of the International Development Area, Harvard Kennedy School

Moderator: Michal Rutkowski, Senior Director for Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, World Bank

You can follow the event on Twitter using #TargetedProtection.