Designing Social Protection to Improve Employment, Earnings and Productivity in Lower- and Middle-Income Countries

This paper emerged from a rapid review of the evidence on cash transfers, with the intention of supporting policy-makers’ implementation of social protection following the disruption to labour markets brought about by COVID-19. We draw primarily from lower- and middle-income country (LMICs) evidence; where relevant high income country evidence is included, this is explicitly stated. Please note, this paper is not a systematic review, nor does not it use formal economic models to forecast the effects of grant policy decisions.The scope of this paper is twofold. Firstly, it reviews the latest evidence on the effectiveness of social protection interventions in LMICs. We focus on interventions which target labour market outcomes, including employment and earnings and their intermediary outcomes, such as job-search or the ownership of productive assets. Second, we provide a series of key learnings relating to the implementation and design of effective policies.