Motalla, Shirin (2017). 'Pathways Out of Poverty: Role and Contribution of Public Employment Programmes in promoting movement out of poverty.' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Cape Town 2017.


The panel will explore a critical assumption at the heart of social protection debates that public employment programmes can address enhanced labour market outcomes, provide effective safety nets (in a context of the state reluctance to provide safety nets for adult able bodied people) and can deliver quality public goods. In South Africa and in many other developing countries poverty, unemployment and inequality remain unacceptably high and there is wide spread recognition that social protection spending is not only progressive but can contribute to reductions in poverty and inequality.

The challenge is that fiscal space to achieve greater redistribution is limited and this calls for well designed and better quality PEP interventions which can respond to and deliver on multiple objectives. There has been dearth of evidence of the impact of such interventions, intended or unintended which could inform the design of such programmes. The aim of the panel is to increase our understanding of the extent to which PEP programming can contribute to these multiple objectives of providing income safety, enhanced labour market outcomes and deliver quality social and public goods. They will seek to identify how such impacts maybe promoted, in order to inform and improve policy, selection, design and monitoring.

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