A growing proportion of development assistance is being devoted to relief efforts. This signals a worrisome pattern in which increasingly large numbers of vulnerable people have become trapped at low living standards from which they have difficulty escaping. There are potentially large returns to social protection policies that develop safety nets below the vulnerable to keep them from slipping into a trap of relief dependence. Such safety nets secure households a position from which they can accumulate assets, increase production and improve their living standards over time.
In this seminar, Professor Carter will explore this idea by looking at the effectiveness of different social protection regimes. He will show that under some welfare criteria assistance targeted to households who have assets below a certain threshold is preferable to assistance based on needs or rights-based targeting. He will also examine budget neutral policy alternatives that can eliminate the tradeoffs between different welfare criteria.