Understanding the Links between Social Protection and Migration in Low-and Middle-income Countries

This UNU-CPR discussion paper draws on evidence collated in a comprehensive literature review to ask: “What are the effects that publicly mandated social protection programmes in countries of origin exert on migration decisions?”. Social protection can impact public risk and vulnerability, particularly for poor and near-poor households, by offering services such as pensions, child benefits, unemployment benefits, or public works programmes. This can, as a result, directly impact on the decision to migrate, as migrants must consider risk factors alongside the possibility of accessing opportunities. This discussion paper explores this relationship between access to social protection and the ability or need to migrate. In doing so, it addresses policy assumptions regarding migration, including the implementation of social protection to intentionally ‘stop’ or reduce migration.