Financing Social Protection SPF4105 


Period 5B
Start Date 13 May 2024
End Date 7 June 2024
ECTS credits 4
Instruction language  English
Coordinator F. Gassmann
Teaching methods Project Based Learning; Lectures; Assignment; Skills; Paper; Work in sub-groups
Assessment methods Participation; Assignment
Keywords Social Expenditure; Fiscal Space; Financing Mechanisms; Taxes; Political Economy; Governance 


Full course description

Financing Social Protection is the fourth and concluding course of the specialisation. It brings together the issues that were covered by the previous three courses. It seeks to strike a balance between the introduction of concepts of social protection financing and the reinforcement of technical skills that every policy analyst in social protection should be familiar with and be able to use.  It builds on the concepts of poverty, inequality, social justice, social development and the need for social protection, the range of social protection interventions and their rationale as well as the range of existing quantitative costing techniques and impact analysis that were introduced in the preceding courses. 

In any society, social transfers account for a substantial part of national income. Large-scale distributive mechanisms should be designed and operated with the utmost care to optimise social, economic, and fiscal outcomes.  How should a social protection be financed? Should a given new benefit be funded by taxes.  contributions or  private payments? Who pays for what in social protection systems? What would be the likely effect of of a new scheme or a new benefit on economic performance, the government’s budget, other benefits in the system and income distribution? How can financial management and governance be organised in such a way that makes best use of scarce resources? This course, in line with the previous courses, seeks to provide and present future financial planners and decision-makers  with the tools for good financial, fiscal, and economic governance of national social protection systems.

Course objectives

  • Provide a methodological toolbox for sound resource management in social protection
  • Design and maintain a system of financing of national social protection schemes to ensure an effective and efficient use of available resources on the community and at national and international levels
  • Understand the intricate financial linkages between the government budget and the social protection system 
  • Conduct a fiscal space analysis for social protection programmes
  • Examine and review the political economy and governance aspects of social protection programmes, policy prioritisation and consolidation
  • Understand the complexities involved in the design and implementation of social protection programmes and policies



Prior knowledge of Excel is highly recommended 

Recommended reading

Van de Meerendonk, A. (2021). Financing Social Protection in: Loewe and Schüring (eds). Handbook of Social Protection. Bonn.

Fischer, A. M. (2017). Dilemmas of externally financing domestic expenditures: Rethinking the political economy of aid and social protection through the monetary transformation dilemma (No. 629). ISS Working Paper Series / General Series (Vol. 629, pp. 1–41). International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS). 

Pritchett, L. (2005). A lecture on the political economy of targeted safety nets. Social protection discussion paper series No. 0501. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Course reader