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Social Transfers and Growth: A Review

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  • Armando Barrientos
  • James Scott

Abstract

A considerable and growing literature exists on social transfers in developing countries, that is, direct transfers in cash or kind to individuals or households in poverty. Many studies have examined the contribution social transfers can make to reducing poverty and vulnerability in the developing world, but less attention has been paid to how social transfers might affect growth. This Review examines the available evidence on the effects social transfers may be expected to have on growth at the micro-level. It identifies and assesses a number of pathways through which social transfers can potentially contribute either to enhancing or impeding growth. This paper argues that in assessing the growth impacts of social transfers it is important to focus on the poor and their circumstances. The discussion of the linkages between social transfers and growth in developed countries focuses on cross-country empirical studies, testing the hypothesis that if social expenditures are harmful to growth performance then they will show a negative correlation with growth across a sample of countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Armando Barrientos & James Scott, 2008. "Social Transfers and Growth: A Review," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 5208, GDI, The University of Manchester.
  • Handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:5208
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    File URL: http://hummedia.manchester.ac.uk/institutes/gdi/publications/workingpapers/bwpi/bwpi-wp-5208.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Gentilini, Ugo & Omamo, Steven Were, 2011. "Social protection 2.0: Exploring issues, evidence and debates in a globalizing world," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 329-340, June.
    2. Steinert, Janina Isabel & Cluver, Lucie Dale & Meinck, Franziska & Doubt, Jenny & Vollmer, Sebastian, 2018. "Household economic strengthening through financial and psychosocial programming: Evidence from a field experiment in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 443-466.
    3. Mideros A. & Gassmann F. & Mohnen P., 2013. "Estimation of rates of return of social protection instruments. Making the case for non-contributory social transfers in Cambodia," MERIT Working Papers 2013-063, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    4. Mideros Mora, Andres & Gassmann, Franziska, 2017. "Fostering social mobility: The case of the 'Bono de Desarrollo Humano' in Ecuador," MERIT Working Papers 2017-002, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    5. Burger, Rulof & von Fintel, Dieter & Grün, Carola, 2010. "The nexus between social grants and participation rates: Dynamics across generations in the South African labour market," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Hannover 2010 26, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    6. Mideros Andrés & O’Donoghue Cathal, 2015. "The Effect of Unconditional Cash Transfers on Adult Labour Supply: A Unitary Discrete Choice Model for the Case of Ecuador," Basic Income Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 225-255, December.
    7. Juan M. Villa, 2014. "Social Transfers and Growth: The Missing Evidence from Luminosity Data," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2014-090, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Franziska Gassmann & Cecile Cherrier & Andrés Mideros Mora & Pierre Mohnen, 2013. "Making the Investment Case for Social Protection: Methodological challenges with lessons learnt from a recent study in Cambodia," Papers inwopa694, Innocenti Working Papers.
    9. Villa, Juan M., 2014. "Social transfers and growth: The missing evidence from luminosity data," WIDER Working Paper Series 090, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. Bishop, Sylvia & Shepherd, Andrew, 2013. "Aid and Poverty: Why Does Aid Not Address Poverty (Much)?," WIDER Working Paper Series 020, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    11. Stéphanie TREILLET, 2016. "Quel Ciblage De La Croissance Et Des Politiques Sociales Dans Le Cadre De L’Évolution Des Stratégies De Réduction De La Pauvreté ?," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 44, pages 27-41.
    12. Andrew Shepherd & Sylvia Bishop, 2013. "Aid and Poverty: Why Does Aid Not Address Poverty (Much)?," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2013-020, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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