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Social Protection Links Posts

June 16, 2017 (links edition #18)

Interesting lessons and reflections on disaster response, including the recent experience with hurricane Matthew in Haiti, the impact of floods on people’s aspirations in Pakistan, and a comparison between the massive 2011 and 2017 droughts in Somalia. In the meanwhile, conflict in South Sudan is leading schoolgirls to forfeit their education.

Talking of violence, a brief sets out risks and potential for digital and social media to monitor upcoming elections in Kenya. On the other side of the continent, the border regions of Niger have seen a rise in violent extremist groups: new research charts the pathways of such radicalization, which seems largely fueled by poverty and inequality.

Bonus on displacement: an NBER paper on refugees in the US estimates that, after 6 years in the country, refugees work at higher rates than natives but don’t attain similar earning levels; also, refugees pay $21,000 more in taxes than they receive in benefits over their first 20 years in the US. Simon Maxwell reviews ‘Refuge’, the new book by Betts and Collier. A new ODI paper investigates how much of $300+ millions of humanitarian projects, largely in displacement settings, reached beneficiaries through cash or in-kind transfers (hint: 81%, with the rest being absorbed by admin and indirect costs).

More on cash transfer programs: a new compilation of lessons from providing cash transfers to the elderly in four African countries (Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zimbabwe). A summary impact evaluation for Uganda decomposes the impact of a cash grant (SAGE) graduation program in its economic multipliers, beneficiaries’ social standing, and community targeting. (By the way, so much effort is invested in results measurement that a blog claiming that development cannot be measured is bound to spark debate.)

This week universal basic income features in the context of financial inclusion, the threats of automation (or lack thereof), and poverty dynamics.

A set of urban resources: we know that urbanization includes a multitude of country-specific classifications, with a new paper reviewing them for Kenya. Global urban municipal movements will meet in Barcelona to build a global networks of solidarity. And paper examines urbanization pathways in Bangladesh calling for nutrition-sensitive programs in slums.

Speaking of malnutrition, an NEJM article shows that, in 2015, a total of 107.7 million children and 603.7 million adults were obese. China and India had the highest numbers of obese children, whereas the US and China had the highest numbers of obese adults.

The concepts of dignity and shame are often discussed in social protection, but seldom examined systematically: a new IDS paper provides a conceptual framework for understanding the interactions between shame, poverty and social protection. Another conceptual framework is set out to connect social protection and agriculture: a recent report reinvigorates the case for state-based interventions to support smallholder production, with the produce used for social protection programs like school feeding.

A couple of ‘bigger-picture’ issues: how much is the gap between energy supply and demand in Africa? Moss seems to point that out in a CGD blog. And an interesting interview with Dani Rodrik on the state of the global financial system.

Loads of events these days, most of which webstreamed, like on the future of social protection, strengthening Africa’s urban resilience, building state capabilities, how to support refugees’ aspirations, and on corruption prevention.