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Safety nets in transition economies : a primer


  • Fox, Louise


This paper focuses on the experience of the transition countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, in providing adequate safety nets for the poor during the last ten years. The paper discusses the problem of poverty, and vulnerability, and looks at the typical types of interventions offered by governments. Moreover, it surveys the evidence on the effectiveness of these programs to reach the poor, in poverty reduction, and other aspects of poverty. The striking results, as in all countries, show how classic targeted safety net policies played a minimal role in reducing poverty; partly, because of the uniqueness of the period - conventional good practice was not applicable. Recently, several countries in the region have improved the coverage of their programs. Low income countries may find that implementing a cash benefit system is too costly, and administratively complex, although it should be noted that Armenia, and Albania have both implemented programs successfully. These countries may try less complex solutions, such as distributing food rations through schools, or school feeding programs. Fee waivers, or subsidies to improve access to social services for the poor, could also be helpful.

Suggested Citation

  • Fox, Louise, 2003. "Safety nets in transition economies : a primer," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 25985, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:25985

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lavy, Victor, 1996. "School supply constraints and children's educational outcomes in rural Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 291-314, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Easterlin, Richard A., 2008. "Lost in Transition: Life Satisfaction on the Road to Capitalism," IZA Discussion Papers 3409, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Margaret Grosh & Carlo del Ninno & Emil Tesliuc & Azedine Ouerghi, 2008. "For Protection and Promotion : The Design and Implementation of Effective Safety Nets," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6582.


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