Assessing poverty alleviation through social protection: School meals and family benefits in a middle-income country uri icon

abstract

  • School meal programs are credited with improving food security and encouraging primary school enrollment. Yet the role of such programs may be evolving given progress in primary school participation as well as the availability of new instruments for social protection. This study assesses whether a school meal program in Armenia that originated as a response to the global financial crisis of 2008 serves as a wide but shallow safety net. We look at both changes in poverty measures as well as the welfare effect of the program using general measures of social welfare within the context of a class of social welfare functions. We show that only for extreme poverty or for comparatively strong social aversion to inequality does the school meal program have a noticeable welfare outcome. We compare this to the welfare effect of a concurrent - and larger - family benefit program.

publication date

  • 2019
  • 2019