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Building social protection and labor systems : concepts and operational implications


  • Robalino, David A.
  • Rawlings, Laura
  • Walker, Ian


This paper presents a framework for designing and implementing social protection and labor (SP&L) systems in middle and low income countries. Although the term'system'is used to describe a country's set of social protection programs, these tend to operate independently with little or no coordination even when they have the same policy objective and target similar population groups. The paper argues that enhancing coordination across SP&L policies, programs, and administrative tools has the potential to enhance both individual program performance as well as the overall provision of social protection across programs. The first part of the paper discusses the characteristics of well?designed social protection systems. It also points to the gains and some of the risks - of moving toward systems, including: (i) more effective risk management in crisis and non?crisis periods; (ii) improved financial sustainability; (iii) more equitable redistribution; (iv) economies of scale in administration; and (v) better incentives. The second part discusses issues related to design and implementation based on country studies for Brazil, Chile, India, Niger, Romania, and Vietnam. It suggests three levels of engagement to support the design of SP&L systems: (a) at the policy level, defining how different instruments (e.g., savings, risk pooling, redistribution) interact, and coordinating financing mechanisms and institutional arrangements; (b) at the program level, improving the design of individual programs and creating synergies with other programs within and across social protection functions; and (c) at the administrative level, setting up basic'nuts and bolts'tools that can work across programs, such as beneficiary identification and registry, payment mechanisms, and management information systems. The last part of the paper outlines some of the implications of a systems vision for the World Bank's social protection and labor practice.

Suggested Citation

  • Robalino, David A. & Rawlings, Laura & Walker, Ian, 2012. "Building social protection and labor systems : concepts and operational implications," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 67608, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:67608

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert Holzmann & David A. Robalino & Noriyuki Takayama, 2009. "Closing the Coverage Gap : The Role of Social Pensions and Other Retirement Income Transfers," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2651.
    2. Helena Ribe & David A. Robalino & Ian Walker, 2012. "From Right to Reality : Incentives, Labor Markets, and the Challenge of Universal Social Protection in Latin America and the Caribbean
      [De los derechos a la realidad : incentivos, mercados de traba
      ," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6008.
    3. Robalino, David A. & Zylberstajn, Eduardo & Robalino, Juan David, 2011. "Incentive Effects of Risk Pooling, Redistributive and Savings Arrangements in Unemployment Benefit Systems: Evidence from a Job-Search Model for Brazil," IZA Discussion Papers 5476, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Robert Holzmann & Steen Jørgensen, 2001. "Social Risk Management: A New Conceptual Framework for Social Protection, and Beyond," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 8(4), pages 529-556, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bloom, David E. & McKinnon, Roddy, 2013. "The Design and Implementation of Public Pension Systems in Developing Countries: Issues and Options," IZA Policy Papers 59, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Alderman, Harold & Yemtsov, Ruslan, 2012. "Productive role of safety nets : background paper for the World Bank 2012-2022 social protection and labor strategy," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 67609, The World Bank.
    3. Umapathi, Nithin & Wang, Dewen & O'Keefe, Philip, 2013. "Eligibility thresholds for minimum living guarantee programs : international practices and implications for China," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 83118, The World Bank.
    4. Robalino, David A. & Weber, Michael, 2013. "Designing and implementing unemployment benefit systems in middle and low income countries : key choices between insurance and savings accounts," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 90348, The World Bank.
    5. Cerutti, Paula & Fruttero, Anna & Grosh, Margaret & Kostenbaum, Silvana & Oliveri, Maria Laura & Rodriguez-Alas, Claudia & Strokova, Victoria, 2014. "Social assistance and labor market programs in Latin America : methodology and key findings from the social protection database," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 88769, The World Bank.
    6. Robalino, David & Margolis, David & Rother, Friederike & Newhouse, David & Lundberg, Mattias, 2013. "Youth employment : a human development agenda for the next decade," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 83925, The World Bank.
    7. Dorfman, Mark & Palacios, Robert, 2012. "World Bank support for pensions and social security," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 70925, The World Bank.

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    Labor Markets; Insurance Law; Insurance&Risk Mitigation; Labor Policies; Poverty Impact Evaluation;

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