Public Works as a Safety Net: Design, Evidence, and Implementation


Public Works as a Safety Net: Design, Evidence, and Implementation reviews the conceptual underpinnings and operational elements of public works programs around the world. Drawing from a rich evidence base including program documentation, policy papers, peer-reviewed publications, and empirical data from over 40 countries, it provides an overview of the state of public works programs and how they function as part of wider social protection systems.

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Public Works as a Safety Net: Design, Evidence, and Implementation reviews the conceptual underpinnings and operational elements of public works programs around the world. Drawing from a rich evidence base including program documentation, policy papers, peer-reviewed publications, and empirical data from over 40 countries, it provides an overview of the state of public works programs and how they function as part of wider social protection systems.

The book provides a comprehensive analysis of the design features and alternative models of public works implemented under diverse country settings. Topics covered include program objectives, institutional and financing arrangements, targeting, costs and benefits, gender considerations, and monitoring and evaluation. Political economy issues that inform the development and effectiveness of public works programs are also addressed, bringing into focus the centrality of governance and transparency to ensure the achievement of program outcomes.

The comprehensive nature of the review, and its thorough analysis of available data, fills a gap in knowledge related to public works program design and implementation. The book should benefit both policy makers and practitioners involved in public works planning. It will also help inform future efforts to incorporate public works as an important tool of an integrated national social protection systems, that will help respond to unpredictable global shocks leading to sudden declines in employment, whether seasonal or systemic.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780821389683
  • Publisher: World Bank Publications
  • Publication date: 12/11/2012
  • Series: Directions in Development Series
  • Pages: 452
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword xv

Acknowledgments xix

About the Authors xxi

Abbreviations xxiii

Chapter 1 Introduction and Overview 1

Definition and Evolution of Public Works Programs 3

Approaches of Public Works Programs 4

Aim and Key Messages of This Book 6

Roadmap for This Book 7

Part 1 Design, Evidence, and Implementation 9

Chapter 2 Public Works Programs: Objectives and Models 11

Primary Objectives of Public Works 12

Secondary Objectives and Spillover Benefits 17

Models of Safety Net-Oriented Public Works Programs 24

Notes 27

References 28

Chapter 3 Country Contexts and Patterns in Public Works Programs 31

Country Context 33

Cross-Country Patterns 40

Conclusions 46

Notes 46

References 46

Chapter 4 Program Design 49

Implementing Institutions and Funding Mechanisms 50

Establishing Project Selection Criteria 59

Selecting Beneficiaries 68

Determining Benefit Levels 79

Integrating Additional Objectives through Public Works Plus 82

Addressing Political Economy Considerations 83

Notes 87

References 87

Chapter 5 Program Implementation 91

Program Objectives, Models, and Scope 93

Institutional and Financing Arrangements 97

Program Management Information System 110

Financial Reporting and Auditing 114

Project Selection Process and Maintenance 115

Worksite Management 119

Beneficiary Selection and Organization 122

Managing Wage Payments 126

Procurement of Goods and Services 133

Program Communications 136

Note 142

References 142

Chapter 6 Governance and Corruption in Public Works Programs 145

Understanding Error, Fraud, and Corruption in the Context of Public Works Programs 146

The Import and Challenge of Good Governance 148

Program and Beneficiary-Level Mitigation Mechanisms 151

Innovations in Governance Response 156

Note 160

References 160

Chapter 7 Monitoring and Evaluation 161

Results Chains and Indicators 162

Challenges in Setting Up M&E Systems in Public Works Programs 165

Tools and Components 161

Evolving Issues for Public Works Programs 183

Lessons and Conclusions 189

Notes 190

References 191

Part 2 Case Studies 195

Chapter 8 Rwanda: Wage Setting-From Policy to Practice 197

General Context and Background of Public Works in Rwanda 198

Evolution of Wage-Setting Policies in Rwanda 202

Wage Setting in Practice: Challenges and Solutions 203

Lessons Learned and Conclusions 209

Notes 210

References 210

Chapter 9 Ethiopia: Project Selection Process 213

Principles 214

Procedures for Project Selection and Preliminary Design 215

Implementation of Project Selection Procedures 221

Lessons Learned and Conclusions 229

Notes 231

References 231

Chapter 10 India: Technological Innovation for Effective Management Information Systems 233

Context 234

Development of an MIS to Support Program Processes and Structures 236

Key Implementation Features 240

Lessons Learned and Conclusions 245

References 247

Chapter 11 India: Implementing Social Audits 249

Context: History and Evolution of Social Audits in India 251

MGNREGS and Social Audits in Andhra Pradesh 253

Implementation Structure of Social Audits in Andhra Pradesh 257

Implementation Process of Social Audits in Andhra Pradesh 260

Lessons Learned and Conclusions 263

Notes 266

References 267

Chapter 12 Ethiopia: Use of Impact Evaluation 269

Program Context 270

Overview of Selected Impact Evaluation Studies: Methods and Data 273

Program Targeting Performance 276

The Cash Transfer Modality: Beneficiary Preferences, Timeliness, and Local Market Effects 280

Program Impact on Household Well-Being 282

Unintended Effects 287

Lessons Learned and Conclusions 289

Notes 291

References 291

Chapter 13 Cambodia: Institutional Coordination and Donor Harmonization in a Postconflict Setting 295

Context 296

Institutional Coordination Approach for Public Works Programs 298

Implementation Experiences at Different Levels: Interministerial, Decentralized, and Donor 300

Lessons Learned and Conclusions 307

Notes 308

References 309

Chapter 14 Liberia: Launching Public Works in Response to a Crisis 311

Context: The Food Crisis in Liberia and Cash for Work as a Response 312

Measuring Progress: Impact Findings and Feedback 315

Lessons Learned and Conclusions 325

Notes 327

References 328

Appendix A Data Overview 329

Programs Included in "How to Make Public Works Work: A Review of the Experiences" 331

Programs Included in the Survey Conducted at the Social Protection South-South Learning Forum: Making Public Works Work (2010) 336

Note 368

References 368

Appendix B Types of Projects Implemented under Public Works 369

Appendix C Environmental Assessments: Illustrations from Select Countries 373

Rwanda: Public Works Environmental Assessment 373

Ethiopia: PSNP's Environmental and Social Management Framework 374

Appendix D Public Works Plus: Illustrations from Different Countries 377

Examples of Graduation Strategies in Public Works Programs 377

Appendix E Mixed Delivery Systems 381

Government Funded Program 381

Government and Donors Funded Program 382

Appendix F Sample M&E Indicators for Typical Public Works Program 385

Appendix G Outcome and Output Indicators for the PSNP Public Works Component in Ethiopia 389

Appendix H Institutional Responsibilities for Monitoring and Evaluation: Illustration from Ghana 393

Appendix I Summary of Key Findings from Main Impact Evaluations of Ethiopia's Productive Safety Net Program 397


4.1 Eligibility and Rejection Criteria for Projects in Liberia and Rwanda 61

4.2 Using Public Works for Environmental Restoration Ethiopia 69

4.3 El Salvador: Combination of Targeting Approaches Used in the Temporary Income Assistance Program 76

4.4 Community Approach to Targeting in Rwanda 77

4.5 Cash or Food Payments? 80

4.6 Five Strategies to Avoid Political Capture 84

5.1 Simulations to Assess Program Scope: An Illustration 95

5.2 Examples of Centralized and Decentralized Institutional Arrangements: Ethiopia and Armenia 100

5.3 Customizing a Management Information System: The Republic of Yemen's Social Fund for Development 113

5.4 Project Selection Procedures in Select Countries 117

5.5 Identifying the Eligible: The Promise of India's Unique Identity Scheme 128

5.6 Ethiopia: Using a Coupon Payment System 131

5.7 Sri Lanka: Community Procurement Process 136

5.8 The Importance of Good Communication for Program Beneficiaries: The Cases of Kosovo and Ghana 138

5.9 Communication Mechanisms Used in Rwanda's Vision 2020 Umurenge Program 140

6.1 Coordination Issues in a Decentralized Program 150

6.2 Ghana's Institutional Arrangements for Financial Management of Its Social Opportunities Project 152

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