Tracking Global Social Protection Responses to Inflation: Living Paper, v.5

Between December 2022 and May 2023, the number of social protection and other related measures announced or implemented in response to inflation rose by about 31%. The latest tally includes 1,333 responses across 178 economies. Overall, subsidies claim 33% of such measures and take four main forms (fuel, food, fertilizers, and various fee subsidies). Social assistance accounts for 31% of responses, 77% of which is provided in the form of cash transfers. Tax measures represent 19% of the global responses, and trade, active labor market policies and social insurance claim a share of 6% each. Based on planned coverage data from 116 economies, social protection programs intend to cover 1.94 billion people or about 25% of the world’s population. But so far, actual coverage shows that 303.5 million individuals, or about 4% of the global population, were reached (based on data from 36 economies). Next, based on expenditure data from 561 programs across 143 economies, a total of $1.01 trillion is being invested in social protection responses. This involves an average country spending of 1.06% of GDP. The average size of both social assistance and subsidy transfers represents slightly over a quarter (i.e., 27%) of the daily median income, while their average initial duration is 7.3 months. Almost one-fifth of the responses to inflation have been extended, and the average duration of such extensions is 8.5 months. Over half of social assistance transfers are new (56%) and are provided on a one-off basis (47%).