Levels and patterns of safety net spending in developing and transition countries
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 www.worldbank.org/safetynets 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.
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