Social assistance and inclusive growth

Barrientos, Armando / Daniele Malerba
External Publications (2020)

in: International Social Security Review 73 (3), 33-53


The expansion of social assistance in low‐ and middle‐income countries raises important issues for inclusive growth. Labour is by far the principal asset of low‐income groups. Changes in the quantity, quality, and allocation of labour associated with social assistance will impact on the productive capacity of low‐income groups and therefore on inclusive growth. The article re‐assesses the findings reported by impact evaluations of social assistance in low‐ and middle‐income countries to address this issue. Most studies have tested for potentially adverse labour supply incentive effects from transfers but have failed to find supportive evidence. The article highlights findings from this literature on the effects of social assistance on human capital accumulation and labour reallocation. They point to the conclusion that well‐designed and well‐implemented social assistance contributes to inclusive growth.

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