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Can Social Protection Be an Engine for Inclusive Growth?

image of Can Social Protection Be an Engine for Inclusive Growth?

The potential role of social protection in the development process has received heightened recognition in recent years, yet making a strong investment case for social protection remains particularly challenging in many emerging and developing countries. This report challenges us to think deeply about the economic rationale for social protection investments through an inclusive development lens. It helps us understand the links between social protection, growth and inequality; how to measure those links empirically; social protection’s impact on inclusive growth; and how to build a more solid economic case for greater social protection investments.

The report adds to the debate on social protection in three ways. First, it proposes a methodological framework to conceptualise and measure the impact of social protection on what the OECD defines as inclusive growth. Second, it provides new empirical evidence on the impact of different social protection programmes on inclusive growth. Third, it helps strengthen the case for greater investments in social protection while also calling for better data to measure impacts.

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Measuring the impact of social protection on inclusive growth

Over the past years, social protection has gained an ever-greater recognition on the global and national development policy agendas as not only a fundamental human right but also an effective way to tackle poverty and vulnerability. This focus has been largely influenced by overwhelming evidence that social protection schemes can deliver real results in terms of poverty reduction and progress towards improving job quality. Yet, the economic impact of social protection investments remains overall poorly documented. To a large extent, this has to do with the complexity of measurement. This chapter proposes a methodological framework to capture linkages between social protection and inclusive growth. It first outlines definitions and measures of social protection and inclusive growth, then presents a new conceptual and measurement framework to assess the impacts of social protection on inclusive growth.

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