Can Social Protection Work in Africa? Evidence on the Impact of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme on Food Security, Assets and Incentives
63 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2009
Date Written: August 18, 2009
This paper evaluates a large social protection program in rural Ethiopia, the Productive Safety Nets Programme (PSNP). The effectiveness of the PSNP is of interest because the program was implemented at scale in one of Africa’s poorest countries, with limited physical and communications infrastructure, and scarce administrative resources. We estimate the impact of the PSNP on food security, assets, and disincentives for work and private transfers from 2006-2008 using covariate nearest neighbor matching estimators. We test for heterogeneity in program impacts by estimating average impacts on all beneficiaries, dosage effects on those receiving high levels of transfers, and incremental impacts on households that also received complementary transfers intended to boost agricultural investment. We find that the PSNP has modest average impacts, improving food security, increasing growth in livestock holdings and improving households’ ability to raise funds in an emergency. Program impacts on asset accumulation are greater when higher levels of transfers are received and when participants have access to the PSNP and complementary agricultural services. Ethiopia’s experience suggests that it is possible to implement large social protection in Africa, but that impacts depend on infrastructure, administrative and design constraints.
Keywords: PSNP, Ethiopia, social protection, food security, assets, disincentives
JEL Classification: I38, J22, O12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation