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COVID-19 and Food Security in Ethiopia : Do Social Protection Programs Protect (English)

This paper assesses the impact of Ethiopia's flagship social protection program, the Productive Safety Net Program on the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the food and nutrition security of households, mothers, and children. The analysis uses pre-pandemic, in-person household survey data and a post-pandemic phone survey. Two-thirds of the respondents reported that their incomes had fallen after the pandemic began, and almost half reported that their ability to satisfy their food needs had worsened. Employing a household fixed effects difference-in-difference approach, the study finds that household food insecurity increased by 11.7 percentage points and the size of the food gap by 0.47 months in the aftermath of the onset of the pandemic. Participation in the Productive Safety Net Program offsets virtually all of this adverse change -- the likelihood of becoming food insecure increased by only 2.4 percentage points for Productive Safety Net Program households and the duration of the food gap increased by only 0.13 month. The protective role of the program is greater for poorer households and those living in remote areas. The results are robust to various definitions of program participation, different estimators, and different ways of accounting for the non-randomness of mobile phone ownership. Productive Safety Net Program participants were less likely to reduce expenditures on health and education by 7.7 percentage points and less likely to reduce expenditures on agricultural inputs by 13 percentage points. By contrast, mothers' and children's diets changed little, despite some changes in the composition of diets, with consumption of animal source foods declining significantly.


  • Author

    Abay,Kibrom A., Berhane,Guush, Hoddinott,John, Hirfrfot,Kibrom Tafere

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  • Document Type

    Policy Research Working Paper

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  • Region

    Africa East,

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  • Doc Name

    COVID-19 and Food Security in Ethiopia : Do Social Protection Programs Protect ?

  • Keywords

    food gap; household food security; international food policy research institute; household fixed effect; Infant and Young Child Feeding; Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition; fruit and vegetable; mother and child; poor household; food need; cgiar research program; Food and Nutrition Security; maternal and child nutrition; Food Security and Nutrition; alternative sources of employment; time-varying variable; safety nets and transfers; household impact; safety net program; animal source food; income loss; coping strategy; social protection program; food insecurity; expenditures on health; vegetable and fruit; children's diets; loss of income; social protection system; million people; household food insecurity; Social Safety Nets; Shelter in Place; movement of people; green leafy vegetable; food security status; access to food; indicator variable; consumption; food security situation; measure of use; state of emergency; consumption of egg; increase in consumption; university and college; education and health; human capital accumulation; impact of shock; quality of diet; change in consumption; household survey data; food value chain; household asset holding; store of value; lack of money; lack of food; provision of information; Southern and Eastern; loss of employment; washing hand; fixed effect model; average family size; food insecure household; total consumption expenditure; rural food security; disruption in access; parameter of interest; years of schooling; household head age; direct economic impact; loss of earnings; in kind transfer; global food security; Access to Electricity; burden of proof; agricultural input; food category



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Abay,Kibrom A. Berhane,Guush Hoddinott,John Hirfrfot,Kibrom Tafere

COVID-19 and Food Security in Ethiopia : Do Social Protection Programs Protect (English). Policy Research working paper,no. WPS 9475,COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.