International Evidence to Inform Decision Making on Implementing Social Protection Measures During a Crisis

This paper was written as a rapid review to inform a particular government’s design of emergency social protection during the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper reviews international evidence to inform decisions on social protection measures in lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in response to crises. It does so by reviewing and analysing existing economic research and presenting a series of key learnings relating to the implementation of cash transfer programmes. It would be of use for governments designing social protection in a similar public health crisis or a recession. Evidence is not specifically from conflict or disaster settings.

This paper is divided into five sections. Section 1 describes use of cash transfers as social protection during COVID-19 lockdowns and economic recessions. Section 2 provides a review of evidence on key areas affected by cash social assistance responses. Section 3 discusses design choices for implementing social assistance programmes in response to crises. Section 4 concludes.