by Luis Felipe López-Calva

"When households are faced with a sudden adverse shock to their income, such as a pandemic that restricts them from working or a natural disaster that destroys their livelihood, the rapid delivery of emergency social assistance can be a critical lifeline. In the wake of COVID-19, there have been local, national, and global debates on what types of emergency assistance should be put in place as well as the fiscal ramifications of implementing them—however, many of these debates often overlook foundational issues of delivery. A recent UNDP paper finds that a global temporary basic income to poor and vulnerable households is “within reach” in terms of cost as a share of GDP. But is it “within reach” in terms of implementation capacity? This #GraphForThought looks at the question of feasibility in Latin America and the Caribbean, recognizing that even if the economic resources and political will are there—implementing these types of programs requires extensive administrative capacity, which is both costly and time-intensive to build."

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