Social Protection in a Crisis: Argentina's Plan Jefes y Jefas

The authors assess the impact of Argentina's main social policy response to the severe economic crisis of 2002. The program aimed to provide direct income support for families with dependents, for whom the head had become unemployed due to the crisis. Counterfactual comparisons are based on a matched subset of applicants not yet receiving the program. Panel data spanning the crisis are also used. The authors find that the program reduced aggregate unemployment, though it attracted as many people into the workforce from inactivity, as it did people who would have been otherwise unemployed. While there was substantial leakage to formally ineligible families, and incomplete coverage of those eligible, the program did partially compensate many losers from the crisis, and reduced extreme poverty.

Galasso and Ravaillion (2004)Urban.Cross-sectional and difference-in-difference propensity score matching.Participants worked 20 hours per week in community work, training, school attendance or employment at a private company and in exchange received direct income support.26% of participants would have been unemployed and 23% would have been inactive without program. Study found substantial leakage to ineligibles, but the program was still well targeted at the poor.http://wber.oxfordjournals.org/content/18/3/367.abstractHeads of households with dependents who became unemployed as a result of Argentina's economic crisis in 2003.