Social Protection in Africa

Social Protection in Africa

Frank Ellis, Stephen Devereux and Phillip White

The purpose of this book is to make accessible to a broad audience the ideas, principles and practicalities of establishing effective social protection in Africa. It focuses on the major shift in strategy for tackling hunger and vulnerability, from emergency responses mainly in the form of food transfers to predictable cash transfers to the chronically poorest social groups. The diverse case studies in this book provide a unique and timely exploration of the effective, and less effective, ways that social transfers are delivered to the chronically poor and vulnerable in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Chapter 6: Cost-effectiveness

Frank Ellis, Stephen Devereux and Phillip White

Subjects: development studies, development studies, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, social policy in emerging countries


OF SOCIAL TRANSFERS Cost-effectiveness analysis differs from cost–benefit analysis in that whereas cost–benefit analysis attempts to assess financial or economic returns to an investment by attaching monetary values to all associated costs and benefits and comparing the two, cost-effectiveness analysis more straightforwardly specifies a project objective (or set of desired outcomes) and then analyses the cost of achieving it. Cost-effectiveness analysis is appropriate where effects cannot easily be reduced to monetary terms, even if they can be quantified. It is well suited to social transfer schemes, where the focus is most often on assessing value for money in attaining transfer objectives rather than on quantifying overall economic or financial returns to an investment. Like cost– benefit analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis can be used to compare alternative interventions with different costs and different effects, provided the effects can be expressed in the same units. However, unlike cost–benefit analysis, costeffectiveness analysis findings are specific to the particular effects selected for the analysis, and are likely to differ between direct outputs of schemes (for example, amount of cash or farm inputs transferred) and indirect effects (for example, increased access to food or increased farm output). Some initial distinctions regarding the reach of cost-effectiveness are helpful. At a minimum the analysis would seek to measure the cost per unit of the social transfer delivered, for example the unit cost...

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