Poster Paper: The Impact of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme on Adult Health and Nutritional Outcomes

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Exhibit Hall C - Exhibit Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Hannah Patnaik, Syracuse University

The Impact of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme on Adult Health and Nutritional Outcomes

Hannah Patnaik

In the last few decades, social safety nets have increased in prominence around the world, becoming one of the key tenets of discourse around poverty reduction. Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) is the largest social protection program in sub-Saharan Africa, outside of South Africa. The program was implemented in 2005 and targeted a largely low income and food insecure population with the goal of enabling them to resist shocks and become food self-sufficient. While there is prior research conducted on this program, there is minimal work on the new phase of the program implemented from 2010 to 2015. The research that has been conducted focuses solely on food security outcomes and children’s educational attainment (Gilligan et. al, 2009; Woldehanna, 2009). This study pivots focus to the adult population, evaluating the impact of receiving cash transfers or guaranteed income through work programs on improving adult nutritional and health outcomes.

The study utilizes the Ethiopian Socioeconomic Survey (ESS), a comprehensive panel survey conducted by the Ethiopian National Statistics Office and the World Bank, to investigate whether the safety net program allowed participants to invest more in their own health, consequently improving their standard of living. The surveys were conducted in 2011, 2013, and 2015, and collect data on household demographics, health outcomes, labor participation, food consumption, agricultural practices, asset holdings, and access and provision of aid programs. Using a difference in difference design with propensity score matching, the study will provide quantitative findings on the impact of the PSNP on utilization of health services, critical illness incidence rates, number of days missed from work, and ability to breast-feed children. I anticipate that the results may suggest that participation in the PSNP has a positive effect on primary health outcomes and use of health services through improved nutritional intake and greater discretion to invest in personal well-being.

The findings from this study will provide an important insight into the widespread effect of the PSNP, going beyond evaluating whether the immediate goals of the program were met to investigating the ability of the program to work towards poverty alleviation. Additionally, the impact evaluation will allow for targeted policy recommendations to the state and federal government on scaling up the PSNP based on evidence of its success. Looking at heterogeneous effects of the program by region will also help provide insight into whether local governments have accurately targeted beneficiaries and ensured timely payments, encouraging local administrators to improve implementation of the program.