Social Protection and Resilience: The Case of the Productive Safety Net Program in Ethiopia

IFPRI Discussion Paper 2086

46 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2022

See all articles by Kibrom Abay

Kibrom Abay

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)-Cairo

Mehari Hiluf Abay

University of Florence

Guush Berhane

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Jordan Chamberlin


Date Written: December 31, 2021


Improving household resilience is becoming one of the key focus and target of social protection programs in Africa. However, there is surprisingly little direct evidence of the impacts of social protection programs on household resilience measures. We use five rounds of panel data to examine rural households’ resilience outcomes associated with participation in Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Nets Program (PSNP). Following Cissé and Barrett (2018), we employ a probabilistic moment-based approach for measuring resilience and evaluate the role of PSNP transfers and duration of participation on households’ resilience. We document four important findings. First, although PSNP transfers are positively associated with resilience, PSNP transfers below the median are less likely to generate meaningful improvements in resilience. Second, continuous participation in the PSNP participation is associated with higher resilience. Third, combining safety nets with income generating or asset building initiatives may be particularly efficacious at building poor households’ resilience. Fourth, our evaluation of both short-term welfare outcomes and longer-term resilience suggests that these outcomes are likely to be driven by different factors, suggesting that optimizing intervention designs for improving short term welfare impacts may not necessarily improve households’ resilience, and vice versa. Together, our findings imply that effectively boosting household resilience may require significant transfers over multiple years. National safety nets programs that transfer small amounts to beneficiaries over limited time horizons may not be very effective.

Keywords: ETHIOPIA, EAST AFRICA, AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA, AFRICA, social protection, resilience, food security, social safety nets, households, welfare, productive safety net program

Suggested Citation

Abay, Kibrom and Abay, Mehari and Berhane, Guush and Chamberlin, Jordan, Social Protection and Resilience: The Case of the Productive Safety Net Program in Ethiopia (December 31, 2021). IFPRI Discussion Paper 2086, Available at SSRN:

Kibrom Abay

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)-Cairo ( email )


Mehari Abay

University of Florence ( email )

Via delle Pandette, 32
Florence, Tuscany 50127

HOME PAGE: http://

Guush Berhane (Contact Author)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Jordan Chamberlin

CIMMYT ( email )

Village Market 00621

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics