Social protection can have a wide range of objectives and impacts, from food security, access to services, gender equality, state-building, to social transformation. The emphasis for social protection programmes in developing countries has been on poverty and vulnerability reduction, and human development, for which there is good evidence. There is less evidence on longer-term developmental impacts such as sustainable exit or graduation from poverty, or better job prospects. The choice of objective depends on a range of factors.
The following sections are a selection of the objectives and impacts of social protection programmes.