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Synopsis

This report presents a social protection strategy for transition economies rooted in three pillars of analysis: a conceptual framework based on risk management, an understanding of the context, and Bank experience in social protection in the region. The conceptual framework for this report defines social protection programs and policies using a three-part approach to social risk management: 1) Labor market policies reduce the risk faced by individuals by fostering a flexible formal labor market that rewards labor productivity and allow labor to be allocated to its most efficient use. 2) Pensions and social insurance allow individuals to mitigate risk by smoothing consumption over their lifetimes. 3) Social assistance are risk coping mechanisms that allow the state to reduce the impact of a negative income shock or persistent low income by providing an affordable standard of living for the poor. While the long-term challenges are similar across the region, difference in initial conditions imply that strategic social protection choices differ across the European group and the Eurasian group. The social protection strategy proposed is sensitive to each country ' s context. The report also suggests directions that future Bank support should focus on.

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