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Strengthening public safety nets

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  • Morduch, Jonathan
  • Sharma, Manohar

Abstract

Helping to reduce vulnerability poses a new set of challenges for public policy. The most immediate challenge is to determine the appropriate role for public action if there should be a role at all. A starting point is the ways that communities and extended families try to cope with difficullties in the absence of government interventions. Coping mechanisms range from the informal exchange of transfers and loans within families and commmunitieis to more structured institutions that enable an entire community to provides protections to their neediest members. The existence of this web of private and nonformal mechanisms pompts a series of questions: Will building public safety nets displace existing mechanisms and offer limited net gain to households? Would it be more effective to strengthen existing mechanisms than creating new ones? Can the private sector and NGOs play larger roles? This paper provides some speculative answers and describes places for public action, as well as its limits.

Suggested Citation

  • Morduch, Jonathan & Sharma, Manohar, 2001. "Strengthening public safety nets," FCND discussion papers 122, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:fcnddp:122
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Stefan Dercon (QEH), "undated". "Vulnerability: a micro perspective," QEH Working Papers qehwps149, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    3. Andy Sumner & Rich Mallett, 2011. "Snakes and Ladders, Buffers and Passports: Rethinking Poverty, Vulnerability and Wellbeing," Working Papers 83, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    4. Stefan Dercon (QEH), "undated". "Risk, Growth and Poverty: what do we know, what do we need to know?," QEH Working Papers qehwps148, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    5. Eliana V. Jimenez & Richard P.C. Brown, 2008. "Assessing the poverty impacts of remittances with alternative counterfactual income estimates," Discussion Papers Series 375, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    6. Alejandro de la Fuente, 2007. "Private and Public Responses to Climate Shocks," Human Development Occasional Papers (1992-2007) HDOCPA-2007-22, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
    7. Gentilini, Ugo, 2005. "Mainstreaming Safety Nets in the Social Protection Policy Agenda: A New Vision or the Same Old Perspective?," eJADE: electronic Journal of Agricultural and Development Economics, Food and Agriculture Organization, Agricultural and Development Economics Division, vol. 2(2).
    8. Rebecca L. Thornton & Laurel E. Hatt & Erica M. Field & Mursaleena Islam & Freddy Solís Diaz & Martha Azucena González, 2010. "Social security health insurance for the informal sector in Nicaragua: a randomized evaluation," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(S1), pages 181-206, September.
    9. Murendo, Conrad & Keil, Alwin & Zeller, Manfred, 2010. "Drought impacts and related risk management by smallholder farmers in developing countries: evidence from Awash River Basin, Ethiopia," Research in Development Economics and Policy (Discussion Paper Series) 114750, Universitaet Hohenheim, Department of Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences in the Tropics and Subtropics.

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