Social protection broadly describes policies and programs designed to reduce the vulnerability of individuals, households or populations to shocks such as loss of income, natural disasters, or other upheaval. This may be achieved through the reduction of exposure to risks, or through increasing resilience to shocks. Most developed countries have a network of social safety nets designed to achieve social protection, including labor market policies that protect the worker; social security to guard against the shock of loss of income; and health care and child protection services. But these programs rarely exist in poorer countries, where arguably they are most needed.
IFPRI’s work aims to evaluate the effectiveness of different types of social protection programs and policies for the poor, including conditional and unconditional cash or food transfers, and the impact of livelihood and asset building on poverty and vulnerability.