IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Social Protection, Food Security, and Asset Formation


  • Hidrobo, Melissa
  • Hoddinott, John
  • Kumar, Neha
  • Olivier, Meghan


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. We construct a new database of studies of these programs that report impacts on food security outcomes and asset formation. Our 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. Our meta-analysis also finds that social protection programs lead to increased asset holdings as measured by livestock, non-farm productive assets, farm productive assets, and savings. There is no impact on land holdings though the number of studies that assess these is small.

Suggested Citation

  • Hidrobo, Melissa & Hoddinott, John & Kumar, Neha & Olivier, Meghan, 2018. "Social Protection, Food Security, and Asset Formation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 88-103.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:101:y:2018:i:c:p:88-103
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2017.08.014

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Malerba, Daniele, 2020. "Poverty alleviation and local environmental degradation: An empirical analysis in Colombia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).
    2. Gautam, Yograj, 2019. "“Food aid is killing Himalayan farms”. Debunking the false dependency narrative in Karnali, Nepal," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 54-65.
    3. Alan de Brauw & Amber Peterman, 2020. "Can conditional cash transfers improve maternal health care? Evidence from El Salvador's Comunidades Solidarias Rurales program," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(6), pages 700-715, June.
    4. Nnaeme, Chibuikem C. & Patel, Leila & Plagerson, Sophie, 2020. "How cash transfers enable agency through livelihoods in South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).
    5. Chege, Christine G.K. & Sibiko, Kenneth W. & Wanyama, Rosina & Jager, Matthias & Birachi, Eliud, 2019. "Are consumers at the base of the pyramid willing to pay for nutritious foods?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 1-1.
    6. Muhammad Khalid Anser & Danish Iqbal Godil & Busayo Aderounmu & Ademola Onabote & Romanus Osabohien & Junaid Ashraf & Michael Yao-Ping Peng, 2021. "Social Inclusion, Innovation and Food Security in West Africa," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(5), pages 1-12, March.
    7. Heinrich, Carolyn J. & Knowles, Matthew T., 2020. "A fine predicament: Conditioning, compliance and consequences in a labeled cash transfer program," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    8. Tranchant, Jean-Pierre & Gelli, Aulo & Bliznashka, Lilia & Diallo, Amadou Sekou & Sacko, Moussa & Assima, Amidou & Siegel, Emily H. & Aurino, Elisabetta & Masset, Edoardo, 2019. "The impact of food assistance on food insecure populations during conflict: Evidence from a quasi-experiment in Mali," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 185-202.
    9. James Wangu & Ellen Mangnus & A.C.M. (Guus) van Westen, 2020. "Limitations of Inclusive Agribusiness in Contributing to Food and Nutrition Security in a Smallholder Community. A Case of Mango Initiative in Makueni County, Kenya," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(14), pages 1-23, July.
    10. Sophie Song and Katsushi S. Imai, 2018. "Does the Hunger Safety Net Programme Reduce Multidimensional Poverty? Evidence from Kenya," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp124.pdf, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    11. Ana Maria Buller & Amber Peterman & Meghna Ranganathan & Alexandra Bleile & Melissa Hidrobo & Lori Heise, 2018. "A Mixed-Method Review of Cash Transfers and Intimate Partner Violence in Low- and Middle-Income Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 33(2), pages 218-258.
    12. Murendo, Conrad & Kairezi, Grace & Mazvimavi, Kizito, 2020. "Resilience capacities and household nutrition in the presence of shocks. Evidence from Malawi," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 20(C).
    13. Arndt, Channing & Davies, Rob & Gabriel, Sherwin & Harris, Laurence & Makrelov, Konstantin & Robinson, Sherman & Levy, Stephanie & Simbanegavi, Witness & van Seventer, Dirk & Anderson, Lillian, 2020. "Covid-19 lockdowns, income distribution, and food security: an analysis for South Africa," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 105814, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    14. Silvio Daidone & Benjamin Davis & Sudhanshu Handa & Paul Winters, 2019. "The Household and Individual-Level Productive Impacts of Cash Transfer Programs in Sub-Saharan Africa," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1401-1431.
    15. Lentz, E.C. & Michelson, H. & Baylis, K. & Zhou, Y., 2019. "A data-driven approach improves food insecurity crisis prediction," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 399-409.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:101:y:2018:i:c:p:88-103. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.