The Power of Local Economy Multipliers: Synergies between Social Protection and Agricultural Interventions in Malawi


A rich literature evaluates impacts of interventions to increase agricultural productivity in developing countries, perhaps most notably input subsidy programs in sub-Saharan Africa. It largely misses the point that, in real life, diverse government ministries implement multiple productive and social programs in an effort to achieve multiple policy outcomes, and these policies interact within economies. Not surprisingly, no single policy is efficient at achieving both productive and social goals. Significant synergies among policies suggest that improving policy coherence and coordinating interventions is critical to achieving both productive and social objectives more efficiently.

This webinar presented the first study of its kind to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of alternative social protection and agriculture interventions that account for production and income spillover effects in the local economy. Market linkages that transmit the impacts of programmes from the directly affected households to others in the local economy are generally missed by traditional impact evaluation. Income and production spillovers can affect the overall cost-effectiveness of an intervention and also have important distributional impacts. While recent work has demonstrated the existence of positive income multipliers for cash transfer programs in rural Africa, this study provides comparable simulations of local economy multipliers for other types of interventions including public works, agriculture subsidies, irrigation and extension services, as well as their combination. Check the Policy Brief and the full study for more information. 


Justin Kagin, Owner and Founder, Kagin's Consulting


Noemi Pace, Economist Consultant, FAO

Lukes Kalilombe, Deputy Director at Ministry of Finance, Planning and Information, Government of Malawi

Dominic Nkhoma, Chief Economist, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Government of Malawi


Luca Pellerano, Advisor on Social Security, ILO Zambia