Working Paper
Welfare and redistributive effects of social assistance in the Global South

This paper presents an analysis of the recent evolution of social assistance in the developing world, looking at its complex typological configuration, which has interlinked with, and partly reflects the complex demographic and epidemiological transitions and rapid urbanization and economic convergence that many developing countries have exhibited over the past decades.

The paper underscores the principles of the poverty focus of social assistance and presents an overview of existence evidence of first- and second-order effects of social assistance, particularly in the domains of poverty, education, health and labour markets.

Moreover, the paper highlights the knowledge gaps with regard to the longer-term and gender-specific welfare effects of social assistance, and the redistributive effects, and the incentives and distortion mechanisms that transfer programmes can generate in the labour and insurance markets.