Designing public works programmes for protection and growth

Public Works Programmes (PWPs) have been widely employed in both developed and developing countries to provide social protection to people of working age who are living in poverty. Beyond social protection, adequately designed PWPs can potentially enhance local productivity and contribute to overall economic development through three main channels: i) cash transfers; ii) creation or improvement of assets; and iii) creation or development of skills. By transferring cash to beneficiaries, PWPs can protect household consumption while promoting savings and investments in productive assets. Through the generation of public goods and the provision of training, public works can also lead to the accumulation of community assets and the development of skills, alleviating local productivity constraints.