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Recognising Heterogeneity: A Proposed Typology for Public Works Programmes

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  • Anna McCord

Abstract

This paper highlights the diversity of the Public Works concept and the implications of this diversity for effective social protection programming. The paper outlines the heterogeneity of programmes currently implemented under the broad terminology of Public Works and the conceptual confusion that arises as a result of the use of the generic term Public Works Programme (PWP) to describe a range of highly diverse programmes without making adequate distinction between the different forms, together with the programming errors which ensue from this conceptual confusion. One particularly egregious result of this lack of clarity is the repeated implementation of PWPs offering only a single short term episode of employment in low and middle income countries where unemployment is principally structural, an intervention which is unlikely to offer significant or sustained social protection benefits for participants. In an attempt to address to this problem, a typology of PWPs is presented to provide a framework for a more systematic and insightful engagement with PWPs, which links PWP form to likely social protection outcomes in differing labour market contexts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town in its series SALDRU Working Papers with number 26.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ldr:wpaper:26

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  1. David Coady & Margaret Grosh & John Hoddinott, 2004. "Targeting of Transfers in Developing Countries : Review of Lessons and Experience," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14902, October.
  2. Martin, John P. & Grubb, David, 2001. "What works and for whom: a review of OECD countries' experiences with active labour market policies," Working Paper Series 2001:14, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  3. Anna McCord, 2004. "Policy Expectations and Programme Reality: The Poverty Reduction and Labour Market Impact of Two Public Works Programmes in South Africa," Working Papers 8, Economics and Statistics Analysis Unit (ESAU), Overseas Development Institute.
  4. K. Subbarao, 1997. "Public Works as an Anti-Poverty Program: An Overview of Cross-Country Experience," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(2), pages 678-683.
  5. Basu, Kaushik, 1996. "Relief programs: When it may be better to give food instead of cash," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 91-96, January.
  6. Holger Bonin & Ulf Rinne, 2014. "‘Beautiful Serbia’ - objective and subjective outcomes of active labour market policy in a transition economy," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 22(1), pages 43-67, 01.
  7. Anna McCord, 2003. "An Overview of the Performance and Potential of Public Works Programmes in South Africa," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 049, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
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Cited by:
  1. Lieuw-Kie-Song, Maikel & Philip, Kate & Tsukamoto, Mito & Van Imschoot, Marc, 2011. "Towards the right to work : innovations in public employment programmes (IPEP)," ILO Working Papers 460768, International Labour Organization.

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