Global Resources

How do social protection and labour programmes contribute to social inclusion? Evidence from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal

Author: B. Babajanian, J. Hagen-Zanker, R. Holmes
Publisher: Overseas Development Institute
Publication Date: Mar 2014

Today, the positive effects of social protection and labour programmes on core dimensions of well- being such as food consumption and access to health and education are well-recognised. However, less is known about the ability of these programmes to tackle the structural causes of social exclusion and poverty or to promote sustainable changes in the lives and livelihoods of the poor. This paper seeks to help to fill this empirical gap by drawing on the findings from four country case studies that examined the role of social protection and labour programmes in promoting social inclusion. 

The study finds that the interventions in the four countries have contributed to wellbeing outcomes and have had some, albeit small, impact on the drivers of social exclusion. However, it is also found that, on many occasions, interventions have not delivered transformative change. The findings and their policy implications are discussed and the following recommendations are delivered: i) design and delivery of programmes must be adequate and appropriate given context-specific economic, social and institutional factors, ii) design of policy instruments must start with social and institutional analysis and iii) a social exclusion framework is a useful tool in assessing outcomes and drivers of social exclusion and their intersections with poverty. 

Adapted from author’s summary.