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Weekly Social Protection Links Posts

June 30, 2017 (links edition #20)

Two interesting materials on cash transfers: Handa and others produced a handy myth-busting piece on the effects of cash (on spending, dependency, fiscal sustainability, etc.), while Soares and Orton feature as editors of the latest IPC In Focus edition unbundling the graduation agenda. Bonus: interview with Give Directly’s Paul Niehaus.

A short piece by three ODI researchers reflects on six years of research on fragility, while a set of new tools on the use of cash transfers in humanitarian settings have just been posted, including a note on agency coordination  and multi-sectoral market assessments.

Lant Pritchett has a two-part blog (one and two) where he argues that the debate on migration is not whether it’s good or bad (it’s good), or if host countries benefit (they do), or is wage earners generally lose (they mostly don’t) – it’s about whether some small sub-groups of wage earners lose. Another briefing note shows a less discussed aspect of global migration, that is, about 31 million children are on the move.

Many social assistance programs are accompanied by measures to nudge certain behaviors of beneficiaries. But what about the biases of us designing such interventions? A new though-provoking paper by Banuri, Gauri and Dercon points to our own (researchers and practitioners’) biases and ideological priors.

Interesting insights from the US: a new MDRC evaluation examines the impacts of financial assistance for education of different transfer size and frequency, while a set of ten briefs from the Urban Institute investigate the implications of current policy debates on food stamps, homelessness, health care, and more.

The discussion on poverty and pandemics is taking new directions, including with proposed plans and the Bank’s pandemic emergency financing facility (with the latter inspiring several conversations around the potential and limitations of famine risk insurance markets – trust this will come up soon).

An oped makes a case for UBI (the author gave an interesting TED talk earlier in this year, see here), Bruegel will host a webstreamed UBI event (where they promise to also discuss the downsides of it), and some promising emerging findings from the celebrated Finnish cash transfers for the unemployed (won’t call it a UBI because it isn’t so).

Talking of universality, the IMF’s social safeguards policy paper for poverty programs in LICs seems to be open to universal approaches in principle, but it is kind of skeptical in practice. This has sparked various reactions, for example here.

Some materials on agriculture and food security, with a blog by Goldstein on ag subsidies and their market interactions (another blog on fertilizers in forthcoming in a couple of weeks), Africa’s agricultural spending doubling between 2010-2014, the linkages between informal markets and nutrition in cities, and a new book by CGD’s Kim Elliot having strong recommendations for untying US food aid from American farmers (sample chapter available here).

Final reflections on jobs: apparently we are rediscovering industrial policy in development while we also realize that robots can’t replace it all, or at least not the jobs that require care and compassion.