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Levels and patterns of safety net spending in developing and transition countries


  • Weigand, Christine
  • Grosh, Margaret


This paper offers a new set of data compiled from individual World Bank country reports. The authors give a brief textual description of patterns and trends in spending, and provide the raw data and documentation of its sources in the appendix. The data are also provided in an excel spreadsheet on the safety nets website so that others may use them. Mean spending on safety nets is 1.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and median spending is 1.4 percent of GDP. For about half of the countries, spending falls between 1 and 2 percent of GDP. Some variation is apparent. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, for example, spend considerably less than 1 percent of GDP, while spending on social safety nets in Ethiopia and Malawi is nearly 4.5 percent of GDP because international aid is counted, but will be more like 0.5 percent if only domestically financed spending were counted. Other high-spending countries Mauritius, South Africa, and the Slovak Republic finance their safety nets domestically. Spending on safety nets is less variable than spending on social protection or the social sectors.

Suggested Citation

  • Weigand, Christine & Grosh, Margaret, 2008. "Levels and patterns of safety net spending in developing and transition countries," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 44857, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:44857

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    Cited by:

    1. Hagen-Zanker, Jessica & McCord, Anna, 2010. "Financing Social Protection in the Light of International Spending Targets: A Public Sector Spending Review," MPRA Paper 28418, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. World Bank, 2011. "Philippines," World Bank Other Operational Studies 27384, The World Bank.
    3. Fiszbein, Ariel & Kanbur, Ravi & Yemtsov, Ruslan, 2014. "Social Protection and Poverty Reduction: Global Patterns and Some Targets," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 167-177.
    4. Armando Barrientos, 2016. "Inequality, Poverty, and Antipoverty Transfers," Working Papers id:11190, eSocialSciences.
    5. Yaw Nyarko & Kwabena Gyimah-Brempon, 2011. "Social Safety Nets: The Role of Education, Remittances and Migration," RSCAS Working Papers 2011/26, European University Institute.
    6. Gatenio Gabel, Shirley, 2012. "Social protection and children in developing countries," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 537-545.
    7. World Bank, 2012. "Madagascar - Three Years into the Crisis : An Assessment of Vulnerability and Social Policies and Prospects for the Future, Volume 1. Main Report
      [Madagascar apr├Ęs trois ans de crise : Evaluation d
      ," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12324, The World Bank.
    8. World Bank, 2012. "Protecting Poor and Vulnerable Households in Indonesia," World Bank Other Operational Studies 13810, The World Bank.
    9. Manasan, Rosario G., 2011. "Reforming Social Protection Policy: Responding to the Global Financial Crisis and Beyond," Research Paper Series RPS 2010-01, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.


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