The role of social assistance in reducing poverty and inequality in Asia and the Pacific

This working paper analyzes the contribution of social protection—especially social assistance—in reducing poverty and inequality and supporting inclusive growth in Asia and the Pacific. The analysis is divided into three main sections. First, it reviews long-standing and emerging challenges to social protection in the region: poverty and inequality, demographic change, inclusive growth, and environmental change. Second, it reviews the provision of social assistance: spending, programming, reach, and distribution. Third, it examines key issues shaping the development of social assistance: equity, social investment, and sustainable financing.