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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.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Social Protection Discussion Papers with number 25985.

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Date of creation: 31 Mar 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:25985
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