Coverage Gaps in Social Protection: What Role for Institutional Innovations?

This paper examines some of the most popular institutional innovations in social protection from the past decades: conditional cash transfers, employment guarantees, social pensions and unemployment savings accounts. These and other policy instruments have contributed to expanding the coverage of social protection in developing countries. However, the coverage in insurance against certain risks remains very low even in the middle of the income distribution. Using the example of pension coverage in Latin America, this paper argues that instruments that better bridge social insurance and social assistance are needed in order to overcome the duality of social protection systems in middle-income countries.