Breaking the poverty trap?
assessing the long-term effects of non-contributory social transfers
Since the late 1990s, large-scale non-contributory social transfers have become a core component of poverty reduction strategies in several developing countries. Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme, Mexico’s Oportunidades and South Africa’s Social Pension are examples of this type of anti-poverty policy interventions. These programmes show considerable variety in terms of scope and programme design: while some focus to a greater extent on reducing extreme poverty, others target at addressing intergenerational poverty persistence. Research on their impact and effectiveness is just beginning to provide a comprehensive knowledge base. The current literature largely focuses on assessing the extent to which social transfer programmes achieve their explicit short term objectives. Where programmes have the objective of improving school attendance, health status or facilitating asset accumulation, these effects are measured with relative accuracy. However, important knowledge gaps remain, as less information is available on their long-term
impacts. In that context, this paper aims at providing evidence on the long-term effects of social transfers. Overall, the paper contributes to the existing literature on social transfers in two important ways: First, it provides an analytical framework for assessing the long-term effects of social transfers with a particular focus on persistent deprivation and poverty traps. Our method allows for cross-country comparisons to establish which modalities of social transfers are more effective in addressing long term deprivation and why. Our results must nonetheless be taken with caution when extrapolating them to other latitudes. Second, the study provides ground evidence on the impact of social transfers on persistent poverty and other non-monetary well being outcomes that reflect long-term deprivation. The paper concludes with a discussion on implications for policy.
Ten Years of War Against Poverty Conference Papers
Conference: Ten Years of War Against Poverty