Social registries: a short history of abject failure?


Records of potential recipients of social protection – known as registries – are indispensable in the implementation of social protection systems. A social registry is a type of registry that is increasingly used to implement poverty-targeted social protection programmes in low- and middle-income countries.  

While this kind of registry is rarely debated, it is a further technical design issue in the area of social protection which is deeply political and influences the degree to which millions of men, women, girls, and boys are included or excluded from social protection.  

This webinar informed practitioners and policy makers in governments, international organisations, and civil society, and generate debate on the value of social registries, examining how they differ from single registries, and why proxy means tests – which social registries most often use – doom them to fail. It also zoomed in on the case of the Philippines, where the Listahanan serves as the registry for the Pantawid conditional cash transfer programme.



Gunnel Axelsson Nycander, Policy Advisor, Church of Sweden

Stephen Kidd, Principal Social Policy Specialist, Development Pathways

Emma Cantal, PhD Candidate, Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Diloá Bailey Athias, Senior Economist, Development Pathways


Moderator: Gunnel Axelsson Nycander 


Additional resources:

Social registries: a short history of abject failure

Targeting versus social protection in cash transfers in the Philippines: Reassessing a celebrated case of social protection

Single Registries and Social Registries: Clarifying the Terminological Confusion