Social protection response to Covid-19 and beyond: emerging evidence and learning for future crises

Dr. Francesca Bastagli, Overseas Development Institute

The Covid-19 crisis has brought social protection to the forefront as a crisis response tool. Across the world, social protection policies have risen up policy agendas and are making headlines as governments grapple with the crisis and demand for social protection increases. The crisis has also exposed the gaps in existing social protection systems, highlighting the exclusion and inadequate provision for certain population groups who have been particularly negatively affected by the crisis. This paper examines the emerging evidence on the crisis response effectiveness (e.g. timeliness, adequacy) of social protection measures taken since the onset of the crisis, the enablers and bottlenecks of effective crisis response, and implications of such measures for social protection in the longer term. Such issues are explored with respect to four population groups – informal workers, women, urban dwellers, refugees – and two cross-cutting themes – social protection operations and international financing (ODA) – drawing on in-depth case studies and key informant interviews for social protection initiatives across low- and middle-income countries. The paper presents a synthesis and discussion of the findings of six thematic papers part of the same research project.

About the speaker

Francesca Bastagli is Director of the Equity and Social Policy Programme and Principal Research Fellow at ODI. She leads a multi-disciplinary team of researchers working on poverty, inequality and social policy, overseeing research and policy advisory work on topics ranging from basic services and economic inclusion, to gender inequality and the world of work, to social policy financing. Her recent research is on adapting social protection to the ‘future of work’ and employment and social policies in crisis contexts (including protracted displacement). She has extensive experience in the design, monitoring and evaluation of social protection policies and has researched income and wealth inequality and fiscal policy. Francesca has authored academic articles as well as reports and briefing papers on these topics; she is lead author of the report Cash transfers, what does the evidence say? and co-author of the book Wealth in the UK: Distribution, accumulation and policy (OUP). Prior to joining ODI, Francesca held positions at the London School of Economics (LSE), the World Bank and Bocconi University. She holds a Laurea in Economics from Bocconi University and an MSc and PhD in Social Policy from the LSE.

Venue: via Zoom (please contact us at for the Zoom link)

Date: 20 May 2021

Time: 12:00 - 13:00  CET