Role of social protection in mitigating the impact of coronavirus disease on household welfare: panel data evidence from Nigeria

COVID-19 has had huge impacts on households across the world. The economic impact is particularly great in Africa. This paper analyses the role of social protection in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on household welfare measured in terms of ability to afford food. The results of panel logit regressions on data from 1 925 Nigerian households show that social protection in the form of food or direct cash transfers is associated with a higher probability of households being able to afford the food they need. This positive effect is, however, offset by the increasing intensity of the pandemic. Our results are robust even when using alternative measures of pandemic intensity and controlling for household characteristics. This implies the need for more robust social protection programmes (such as health insurance and employment benefits) that are responsive to household needs, especially in times of crisis