Analysis of vulnerability to poverty and food insecurity among productive social safety net program participants in Tanzania

In the quest to eradicate poverty, Tanzania has been implementing the productive social safety nets (PSSN), among other efforts. However, despite these well-intentioned efforts, there are valid concerns in the literature highlighting the risk that participants may, in the future, plunge back into poverty and food insecurity. This calls for a nuanced understanding of the vulnerable contexts of social safety net program participants. We draw on the 2017-18 Household Budget Survey data to analyze vulnerability to poverty (VP) and food insecurity (VFI) and their determinants among households enrolled in the PSSN program in Tanzania. We follow the vulnerability as expected poverty approach and estimate the determinants using the Tobit model. We found that 13.9 and 20.6 percent of the PSSN participants were highly vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity, respectively, whereas vulnerability was likely to be lower in male-headed households. Residing in rural areas, ageing, household size, food assistance, credit, and occupation were the most important determinants of VP and VFI. Therefore, there is a need for policy efforts focused on enhancing the effectiveness of SSNs to be cognizant of the vulnerability contexts of participants, as well as the differential implications of safety net programs on various household groups.