Social protection and different forms of social assistance

This brief aims to provide rapid syntheses of a selection of recent relevant literature and international expert thinking in response to specific questions relating to international development. It was written by Tanvi Bhatkal, Researcher at the Institute of Development Studies, and commissioned through the Covid Collective. The Covid-19 pandemic led to widespread disruption of livelihoods and loss of income and exposed and reinforced existing inequalities (Rohwerder 2020). In response, almost all countries implemented some form of social protection, with social assistance in particular emerging at the forefront as a crisis response tool to help contain the socio-economic consequences (Lustig et al. 2020; Beazley et al. 2021). Yet experiences differ considerably across contexts, with some groups having received attention while others remained excluded or found it difficult to access benefits. The social protection adjustments and innovations adopted during the Covid-19 pandemic raise questions and offer insights for longer-term policy.