Norwegian development assistance in support of social safety nets
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Original versionBergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI Report R 2021:4) 32 p.
This report is commissioned by Norad as a mapping of Norwegian development assistance in support of social safety nets. It was found that a large share of the support comes in the form of emergency aid via the World Food Program. There has been a transition over time towards more cash transfers, and thus a need for digital solutions in terms of individual accounts and potentially a need for integration with government registers. The mapping was followed by a discussion of selected research findings that may have relevance for the design of Norwegian assistance to safety nets: 1) The choice between conditional and unconditional transfers should depend on the aim of the program. If the aim is to relax liquidity constraints, or help people in need, then unconditional transfers is the right choice, but if the aim is also to incentivize people to send their children to school, or utilize health services, then well-designed conditional transfers will be in place. 2) In remote areas there may be village level poverty traps where the extreme poor meet multiple constraints, and a combination of interventions is necessary to lift them out of poverty in terms of so-called cash-plus, or multifaceted, development programs. 3) A cash transfer will only have an impact on girls’ welfare, beyond the effect via increased household income, if it strengthens the female bargaining position within the household. A cash transfer alone may not be sufficient, and the transfers may have to be combined with other policy instruments, such as programs to strengthen female political participation, self-help groups, entrepreneurship programs, female quotas in hiring processes, information campaigns, inheritance rights, and the right to divorce.