MEDIA5: Informing audiences about their eligibility for welfare programs

As part of Charity Entrepreneurship's 2023 Top Ideas contest, will we select "Informing audiences about their eligibility for welfare programs" as a top Mass Media intervention?

Idea overview

It appears that in many LMICs, only a minority of the poorest households  are actually receiving social assistance (such as social safety nets or widow pensions), even in countries that have relevant programs that these households could be accessing. Lack of awareness and limited knowledge about the availability of  these programs and how to overcome hurdles to access them, have been identified as some of the key barriers. The idea is to provide information about the existence of relevant welfare programs, as well as how to access them.

Mass media interventions

By ‘mass media’ intervention we refer to social and behavior change communication campaigns delivered through mass media, aiming to improve human well-being. We intend to select 2-4 ideas out of the 10 presented to recommend to entrepreneurs who enter our incubation program. This market resolves YES if this idea is chosen; NO otherwise.

About the contest

In partnership with Charity Entrepreneurship, Manifold is sponsoring a $2000 forecasting tournament to inform which ideas end up selected

  • You can win part of a $1000 prize pool as a forecaster, for best predicting which interventions we choose.

  • You can win one of ten $100 prizes for posting an informative comment on Manifold that most influences our decision.

For contest details and all markets, see the group CE 2023 Top Ideas.

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BenjaminM avatar
Benjamin Mbought Ṁ11 of NO

You’d need to do a lot of research to find specific welfare benefits that a) people can easily access and b) don’t run into concerns about participation in the informal economy. It’s also a little odd to have a separate organization actually doing it rather than, say, a consultancy focused on streamlining welfare sign-ups but I could definitely be convinced pretty easily that there are reasons for that. It seems decent but also somewhat overrated currently.

PatMyron avatar
Pat Myron

Feels sisyphean compared to reforming welfare programs to be more streamlined. Directing some welfare through tax reform (modifications to tax types, brackets, credits, deductions, etc) seem more comprehensive than trying to help everyone navigate bureaucratic welfare programs

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polack (edited)

I think whether or not this is a good idea depends very deeply on the specifics of how the welfare bueraucracy in the LMICs work, and how neglected the area is. Work in this area in the US is, non-marginally, very beneficial, but on the margin not so much.

Like, if you significantly increase the % of households in some country that are on welfare ... are you going to go against a policy goal of the govt, who doesn't want to spend that much more money? (note: I don't know enough to know if that specifically is plausible)

But I think this has a chance.

Lily avatar

@jacksonpolack yeah you could imagine the situation being something like, there's political will to spend $100 million on welfare, it's currently going to 1/3 of the households that are eligible, so if you double the enrollment to 2/3, the cost goes up to 200 million and then its budget gets slashed to compensate.

But the intervention still seems promising because 1) it seems reasonably cheap to see if that dynamic will actually happen or not, and 2) even if it does, it's redistributive which is good

AnishaZaveri avatar
Anisha Zaveri (edited)

GPT-4 ranked this #4 of the 10

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