Protección Social

Can We Make Social Protection Programs More Cost-effective? - 5 July | 14:30 – 16:00 pm CEST


5 July 2022 | 14:30 – 16:00 pm CEST  |  To join us on Zoom, please register here:

Can We Make Social Protection Programs More Cost-effective?

Unpacking the psychological channels that underlie spillovers and impact heterogeneity in poverty “Graduation” Programs.

With Michael R. Carter 

Distinguished Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics (University of California, Davis)


Poverty graduation programs build up the tangible productive and the intangible psychological assets of deeply and chronically poor populations. Despite that fact that building up both types of assets is expensive, often in excess of $1000 per-beneficiary, evidence indicates that poverty graduation programs are on average a remarkably cost-effective form of social protection. Yet that same evidence also shows that these programs have highly heterogeneous impacts, often having zero effect on 30-40% of program participants.

The webinar will provide FAO staff and development practitioners with knowledge and evidence on the importance of understanding the role different psychological assets have in determining the success of poverty graduation programmes.

Drawing on a just completed study of a graduation program in Northern Kenya, the event will focus on what was learned by unpacking the psychological channels through which graduation programs work. First, those for whom the program does nothing are those with severe initial depression.  Either targeting the program differently or first resolving these individuals’ depressive symptoms could have a major impact on graduation program cost-effectiveness.  In addition, part of the impact of graduation program comes from altering beneficiaries’ preference through a sour grapes or adaptive preference mechanism. These preference alterations spillover and affect non-beneficiaries, a finding that suggests graduation programs can be made more cost-effective by exploring the optimal density of investment in psychological asset building.

Hybrid format | The meeting will be held both virtually and in person at FAO HQ, in Iran Room.

To join us on Zoom, please register here: