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Social protection and growth: Research synthesis

Summary of publication

Social protection is one of many policy interventions that can contribute to poverty reduction goals. Evidence is growing of the positive impacts it can have on economic growth, especially in protecting and enhancing productivity and labour force participation among poor households. However, disentangling the effects of social protection on aggregate growth from the impacts of other economic and social policies is challenging.

Policy debates about social protection–unlike other social sectors–still tend to be driven by assumptions and normative agendas, in part because of the fragmented and sometimes weak evidence base. While social protection programs can be assessed for their impacts on growth, it is important to remember that the primary aim of social protection is to address poverty, vulnerability and inequality. This should not be subordinate to economic efficiency concerns.

This review paper identifies the channels through which social protection policies and programs have impacts on growth and productivity and provides evidence of this from academic and evaluative literature.

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Last Updated: 18 July 2016
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