Monday, November 12, 2018

Explaining gaps in social protection

 Gaps in social protection are but one symptom of disadvantage and exclusion. The prejudicial treatment of people based on their background or identity prevents some groups from accessing a broad range of public goods and services.

For example, members of disadvantaged groups typically have limited influence on decision-making in their communities. That is, they may not be allowed to participate in committees responsible for selecting beneficiaries of social protection. They may not have the political connections needed to push back against exclusionary policy design and underinvestment in social protection programmes. And they may lack information about such programmes, including on their criteria or application processes, due to illiteracy or poor communication channels. These disadvantages affect all the social groups examined in this report, as well as those for whom there are less data—such as homeless persons and those internally displaced. Women are disproportionately affected in all categories.

Social and economic disadvantages alone can also limit social protection, even in countries where laws no longer discriminate against certain groups. In labour markets of developed and developing countries alike, indigenous peoples, members of ethnic or racial minorities, migrants, persons with disabilities and youth receive lower wages than the rest of the population on average, as do women. They are overrepresented in the informal sector, where social protection is largely absent. In addition, spatial disadvantages, such as geographic isolation, hinder access to social protection among some groups, including indigenous peoples and members of ethnic minorities.

None of these barriers are insurmountable. The design and implementation of policies can either keep social protection out of reach for some or, alternatively, give those left behind the opportunity to benefit from them. Whether or not they result in greater social inclusion depends on the specific measures in place and the way in which they are implemented.

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