Social protection programs are a powerful strategy for alleviating poverty. They include conditional and unconditional cash transfers, food rations, public works programs, school feeding, and targeted programs to the elderly and disabled. By transferring resources to the poor, often with incentives to improve schooling and maternal and child health, these programs seek to limit the long-term effects of chronic deprivation and reduce poverty traps.
IFPRI researchers use rigorous state-of-the-art methods in impact evaluation to study the effects of large, national safety net programs, like Progresa/Oportunidades in Mexico and Bolsa Família in Brazil, as well as pilot programs that experiment to learn about the most cost-effective safety net designs throughout Africa and South Asia. These studies compare social protection delivery strategies (for instance, cash vs. food, conditional vs. unconditional transfers) or linkages to complementary programs in schooling, nutrition and financial inclusion to provide evidence on the most cost-effective social protection program designs to reduce poverty and improve outcomes for the poor.
On this topic, IFPRI works closely with the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM).