Journal article: Social protection, food security, and asset formation

Photo: Holly Holmes/WorldFish

The last two decades have seen a rapid rise in social protection programs and studies that assess their impacts on a large number of domains. The authors of the paper "Social protection, food security, and asset formation" published in the January issue of World Development construct a new database of studies of these programs that report impacts on food security outcomes and asset formation. The meta-analysis finds that social protection programs improve both the quantity and quality of food consumed by beneficiaries. The magnitudes of these effect sizes are meaningful. The average social protection program increases the value of food consumed/expenditure by 13% and caloric acquisition by 8%. Food expenditure rises faster than caloric acquisition because households use transfers to improve the quality of their diet, most notably increasing their consumption of calories from animal source foods. Since the consumption of animal source foods in these populations is low, and because there are significant nutritional benefits to increasing the consumption of these, this is a positive outcome. The study also finds that social protection programs lead to increased asset holdings as measured by livestock, non-farm productive assets, farm productive assets, and savings.

Citation

Hidrobo, Melissa; Hoddinott, John F.; Kumar, Neha; and Olivier, Meghan. 2018. Social protection, food security, and asset formation. World Development 101(January 2018): 88-103. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2017.08.014


An early version of this paper was prepared as background to the 2015 edition of FAO’s The State of Food and Agriculture report. This work was undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Funding support for this study was provided by FAO and the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets. 

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